Grant helps GHS expand community program (Greenville Online)

By Liv Osby

A $174,000 federal grant will help Greenville Health System move toward expanding its community paramedic program.

GHS was one of four groups selected by the Nonprofit Finance Fund to receive the funding. NFF is a grantee of the Social Innovation Fund’s Pay for Success initiative, which steers government resources into projects that demonstrate measurable results for those who need them.

Under the initiative, the upfront costs are covered by mission-driven investors, who are repaid with a return if goals are reached, according to NFF.

"Everyone benefits when children receive better healthcare as newborns, or when teens have the support they need to gain jobs after incarceration," said NFF CEO Antony Bugg-Levine.

"But cutbacks over the past several years have compromised the ability of even outstanding service providers to meet community need,” he added. “The Social Innovation Fund’s support of Pay for Success creates an opportunity to show that we still can achieve great results when we focus on funding and empowering these service providers to do what works."

GHS’s Neighborhood Health Partners Care Team program was formed to bring primary care into the community. It conducts basic health assessments and performs other functions for patients who typically have no medical home to improve management of chronic conditions and reduce unnecessary ER visits and hospitalizations.

Jennifer Snow, director of accountable communities for GHS, said the grant will enable the hospital system to work with a consultant over the next year to lay the groundwork for expansion.

“This is a model that works,” she said of the community program. “But we know we have more patients in the community that need to be served in their home. This would enable us to scale the project up to serve more people.”

The GHS grant is the first Pay For Success financing project for community paramedicine in the country, said Steve Goldberg, an independent social investment advisor with Caffeinated Capital which works with foundations, nonprofits and government agencies to develop Social Impact Bonds and Pay for Success projects.

"If GHS can raise private funding to improve the health of underserved populations and reduce spending on emergency medical services," he said, "it could really help many other states and counties that have struggled to sustain their programs."

NFF said the project has the potential to serve as a model for health care reform that delivers dramatically better outcomes for patients.

The projects are being funded by $3.6 million from the Corporation for National and Community Service's Social Innovation Fund.

Damian Thorman, director of the Social Innovation Fund, said the selected groups are on the front lines of innovation and experimentation.

“The programs funded by NFF seek to both improve the lives of the people they serve and provide an innovative way to pay for these services,” he said. “Here we have thoughtful investments in evidence-based approaches, seeking to create social value while reducing costs.”

To learn more, go to www.payforsuccess.org/sif.