September 23, 2020 (York, Pa.) – To address compelling health issues of the residents of York and its surrounding communities, Memorial Health Fund, a supporting organization of the York County Community Foundation, recently awarded $284,356 in grants to 12 York County organizations.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn national attention to disparities in healthcare and mental health services for certain groups in our community and others,” said Josette Myers, chair of the Memorial Health Fund Board of Directors. “The programs Memorial Health Fund has chosen to support with grants in 2020 reflect this changing landscape and help reduce disparities in healthcare for York Countians regardless of age, race, or income.”
One of the most significant grants was to Family First Health (FFH) for an optometry program for diabetic patients. In 2019, FFH physicians treated more than 2,000 diabetic patients. Part of the standard of care for diabetic patients is an annual eye exam, so FFH physicians referred patients to optometrists. During follow-up exams, physicians noticed that a large number of their patients did not follow through with getting an eye exam to detect diabetic retinopathy.
Conversations with patients revealed that patients who live in York City, for example, have difficulty accessing optometrists located close enough geographically. Additionally, many patients did not feel that they could afford such care, because of their insurance status or financial situation. Finally, a significant number of Spanish speaking patients reported that they did not seek care because of the language barrier—they were not able to access an optometrist who could provide an exam in their language, and they did not feel comfortable attempting an exam in English.
The grant from Memorial Health Fund will enable FFH to offer optometry services for diabetic patients at the George Street Center in York City starting in fall 2020. An optometrist will be on-site one day per month, allowing FFH to provide optometric care to 20 patients per month. Patients will be seen in an exam room dedicated to optometry, outfitted with all of the required equipment and instruments to provide refraction tests, dilated eye exams for diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma screenings.
The latest round of grants from the Memorial Health Fund also supports several online or telehealth options that enable people to receive the information or care they need without face to face contact.
Organizations receiving grants include:
- Family First Health for an optometry program for diabetic patients at Family First Heath’s George Street Center.
- York County Community Foundation for Navigating Aging, a robust set of resources and information to support aging with purpose and dignity. Resources may be accessed through a digital platform or phone.
- York County Rail Trail Authority for conversion of 6.05 miles of dormant rail line into a trail connecting Hanover to Spring Grove for active recreational uses including walking, jogging, cycling, and horse-back riding.
- Hospice and Community Care for a community initiative to strengthen end-of-life care in York County to increase palliative, hospice and bereavement care utilization and enhance quality of life of York citizens facing serious illness.
- Feel Your Boobies Foundation for Are You Doing It? a social media campaign to use social and traditional media to remind women under 40 to feel your boobies–a call to action that could save lives.
- Give Local York’s Healthcare Stretch Pool, an initiative to grow local giving and build nonprofit capacity. Give Local York strengthens local communities by providing critical funding for and lauding the work of community partners.
- New Life Center for Children and Mothers for the Kid’s Korner Learning Center where kids will receive age–appropriate computer education and training.
- Leg Up Farm for expanding Leg Up Farm’s use of telehealth services, ensuring that the developmental gains of special needs children are cultivated even when onsite care is impossible.
- Studio 117 for Music Therapy Jam Session, a partnership with York Music Therapy LLC, Genesis Home, and Shades of Greatness to provide five group Music Therapy Jam Sessions to aid in social, cognitive, and behavioral development.
- Just 4 Today Sober Living for the One Step Program, a staff and member on-line portal allowing staff access to member information and tracking member accountability.
- Women’s Care Center to provide free infant/child Red Cross certified CPR/First Aid and safety classes, as well as safety and first aid kits twice per year.
- York Jewish Community Center for Momentum, a movement program for people with neuro-cognitive conditions, including Parkinson’s.
Memorial Health Fund transforms the way our community addresses compelling health issues to improve the complete physical, mental, and social well-being of the residents of York County. Memorial Health Fund became a supporting organization of York County Community Foundation in 2015. Previously, Memorial Health Fund was a supporting organization of Memorial Hospital.