Partner Spotlight Series: Settlement Health Partner Spotlight Series: Settlement Health

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Partner Spotlight Series: Settlement Health

Photo courtesy of Settlement Health

Federally-qualified health center (FQHC) and community-based organization (CBO), Settlement Health, has been providing the East Harlem community with high quality primary care services for over 40 years. Their longevity within the East Harlem neighborhood can be attributed to their community ties and their mission of providing culturally sensitive and accessible primary health care regardless of one’s ability to pay.

For as long as Chief Executive Officer, Mali Trilla, can remember collaboration with other community-based organizations has been essential to the success of Settlement Health. Mali said of the different partnerships, “We wouldn’t be able to serve of our patients in a comprehensive way if we didn’t collaborate with other organizations.” In fact, she feels that healing a patient is much more than just providing them with the proper vaccinations and medications, but instead understanding a patient’s story and giving them additional resources and services whenever possible.

Although Settlement Health has longstanding relationships with other East Harlem based service providers, DSRIP has provided the opportunity to collaborate with additional city-wide CBOs. While a majority of Settlement Health’s patients live in East Harlem, many reside throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Collaboration with organizations from other communities helps with the expansion of the health center’s network of referral services. Settlement Health is committed to expanding services and providing increased access to comprehensive medical services. Their involvement within the Mount Sinai PPS and DSRIP coincides with their plan to enhance services to improve the health of the community.

Mali noted that, “Our participation with DSRIP provides us the opportunity to share the perspective of a community-based primary care provider with the PPS as it begins to work on the planned transformation of the health care system. We feel DSRIP can offer the opportunity to make improvements that should result in patients having more access to services and better health outcomes.”

The Importance of the CBO’s Perspective in DSRIP

Settlement Health is committed to being a part of the effort to change the healthcare system, in part because they know they bring a unique voice to the PPS. As a FQHC and CBO they can be instrumental in communicating with patients about DSRIP. Mali said, “CBOs have gained the trust and understanding of the people they serve. As a community health center, we have a history of working closely with the community on improving health outcomes and it is important for us to share on how we do this.” For over 50 years, the community health center model has utilized data to document that its methods have positively impacted the communities they serve, in a patient centered and cost-effective manner.

Settlement Health has been actively collecting data for years. Therefore when the organization needed to collect data to meet DSRIP measures, they were ready to deliver. Mali said of this process, "We are very focused on quality improvement and are constantly collecting, analyzing, and using data to help monitor progress. The reporting and validation of the data is labor-intensive and requires monitoring to ensure that the data is valid and truly reflects what we are doing.”

Most recently, Settlement Health’s data has been available for a patient to view within their patient portal. This tool is available in both Spanish and English. Patients are able to view their next appointment, request a prescription refill and more.The patient portal is just one example of a service offered by Settlement Health, an organization where people are respected, treated with dignity, and where there’s sensitivity regarding one’s language and cultural needs. A consumer health education library is another service offered to patients -  Americorp members are available to assist community residents in their quest for knowledge about medical conditions. Settlement Health also provides outreach and enrollment staff to assist in informing and enrolling community members in eligible insurance plans. This program also connects people to different services including food stamps, food pantries, and more.

Settlement Health’s Hopes for DSRIP Improvement

Photo Courtesy of Settlement Health

Being a part of DSRIP has highlighted the importance of focusing on improving the flow of health information between different organizations among the PPS. Mali hopes that by the end of the five years, all organizations within the PPS will be able to share data to allow for a more integrated system in order to meet the DSRIP goals.

One gap that Mali is hoping the integration between the different MSPPS providers can address is the lack of behavioral health services. She said, “Access to behavioral health resources in East Harlem and NYC is very limited. The situation becomes even more critical with the need for multilingual and culturally competent services. If DSRIP is serious about improving population health, this is one of the many issues that will have to be dealt with.”

For more information on Settlement Health, please visit here: http://www.settlementhealth.org/index.html