Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust to Support Thundermist Health Center’s Community Health Access Teams

Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust recently designated three grants, totaling $390,000, to Thundermist Health Center to initiate a three-year plan to bring Community Health Access Teams (CHATs) to each of the three communities it serves.  CHATs work to improve access to care for Thundermist’s most vulnerable patients by reducing barriers to healthy lifestyles and the health care system.  The goals of the program are to improve access to care and enhance the health of patients, while at the same time, reducing the high cost of care.

CHATs are interdisciplinary teams made up of community health workers, behavioral health specialists, and nurse care managers.  CHATs work together with patients in their homes, in the community, or in the health center, wherever is most convenient for the patient.

“We know that many of our patients’ health problems have their root cause in a lack of community supports and unhealthy surroundings”, said Chuck Jones, Thundermist President and CEO.  “The traditional office-based model of care has failed them.  By augmenting their existing supports with caring, committed, community-based staff, who are tightly integrated with their medical home and other community organizations, we can make significant positive impacts on their health.  We are grateful to the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Trust for this opportunity to impact the quality of life of these patients and look forward to sharing the knowledge and data we collect with other practices in Rhode Island.”

In collaboration with the Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI), Thundermist CHATs will utilize new capabilities of CurrentCare, Rhode Island’s statewide health information exchange.  Through this project, RIQI will develop a dashboard for the Thundermist CHATs, which will provide real-time utilization data on the CurrentCare-enrolled patients they are serving.  Access to this information will provide critical insights that will allow the teams to maximize their effectiveness and response to patients.

“CurrentCare is an emerging standard of care in Rhode Island and an essential part of the shift to a more collaborative, connected, team-based model of care,” said Laura Adams, President and CEO, RIQI. “Being able to apply CurrentCare’s capabilities to help improve the coordination and quality of care for Thundermist’s most vulnerable patient population is an important part of our mission to achieve the triple aim of better health for all Rhode Islanders, better care, and lower cost.”

Thundermist has already begun to implement CHATs in Woonsocket and West Warwick, and will expand the program to South County in 2015.  In partnership with Neighborhood Health Plan of RI, Thundermist has identified 600 patients who will benefit from the CHAT model in year one.  Thundermist will add four more teams by year three.