The not-for-profit North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC) has been awarded $10,000 from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage for its Healthy Homes Initiative.
“We are honored to receive this significant award from Wells Fargo,” said NECAC President and Chief Executive Officer Don Patrick. I want to thank Wells Fargo for this general contribution and offer praise to NECAC Deputy Director for Housing Developments Carla Potts for all of her effort in running and developing this program.”
Healthy Homes grew out of a requirement in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. It slashed Medicare reimbursements to hospitals that had excessive 30-day readmissions for certain ailments, including respiratory problems.
At least two larger hospital groups in the St. Louis area lost more than $1 million in Medicare reimbursements last year due to the new requirement.
Violators received a reduction of one percent in 2012, but the rate climbed to two percent this year and will max out at three percent in 2014.
NECAC has teamed up with the Community Action Agency of St. Louis County (CAASTLC) and SSM Healthcare, which owns, manages or is affiliated with hospitals in Missouri and three other states.
The Healthy Homes pilot program will last six months to a year. Fifteen homes in St. Charles County and 15 homes in St. Louis County will receive weatherization and case management services from NECAC and CAASTLC. Potts someday hopes to expand the program to other areas.
Weatherization services include mold and asbestos removal, improved insulation, window and door replacement, caulking and weather stripping, and new furnaces. Clients also will receive guidance on making their living environment healthier.
Most respiratory-care patients who may qualify will be referred by the SSM home health agency. No medical information, other than the already-determined diagnosis, will be shared. Patients may also request information directly from the Community Action Agencies.
The first referrals already have been made from SSM DePaul in Bridgeton, the oldest hospital west of the Mississippi River.
The Community Action Agencies and SSM will sit down while the pilot progresses to study its impact. The savings hospitals see from the program could then be used to expand it.