In today’s episode of Staten Island Spotlight on Business, Todd interviews Joseph Conte, Executive Director, about how we are adjusting, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Staten Island PPS has partnered with Community Health Action of Staten Island to offer free, online Narcan training. A free Narcan kit will be mailed to your listed address after completing the training.
If you are interested in taking part in one of the Narcan trainings, fill out the form here. Someone will reach out to you with a link to the training.
By Nadeen Makhlouf
NYC went on pause as of March 22nd and social distancing has been implemented as one of the major measures to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to continue essential healthcare services, providers across all specialties are providing telehealth services.
Staten Island PPS has been offering its behavioral health partners E-recovery; an evidence-based technology and content to support addiction management. The goal of utilizing the app is to reduce relapse, support long-term recovery, and help patients stay connected. The app helps the patient and their healthcare provider stay connected through messaging, group chats, appointment reminders, and daily surveys.
App utilization during March and April has seen almost 2,000 text messages sent by patients across three sites. In addition, close to 1,000 surveys have been answered by patients utilizing the app. The continuity of activity helps a vulnerable population stay connected at the touch of their fingertips during a time where isolation may have detrimental impacts that could lead to relapse and other behavioral health triggers.
The experience amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the benefits of utilizing the app, with one patient stating that it has helped her stay connected during a time where she needed it most yet could not make it to appointments. Providers have expressed that the app has created a sense of “community” among patients and healthcare staff.
Staten Island PPS is offering a platform for PPSs statewide to identify individuals and families in their respective service areas who wish to report any new or worsening needs during the COVID outbreak. The COVID-19 chat bot is simple, fast, and designed to identify SDOH gaps. The SI PPS network is currently using the tool with great effect and connecting individuals to community resources. The primary source of the contacts has been clients engaged via the PAM initiative, care coordination outreach, our SDOH surveys and rosters provided by our network partners who wish to engage their patients. Our partners are using these self-reported results to contact the respondents and coordinate with healthcare providers and local community-based health and social care providers. If you would like to sample the tool use the direction below:
How to Access the SI PPS COVID-19 Bot:
Text START to 646-971-9798 to begin
Since the start of the spread of the novel coronavirus, Staten Island PPS has been working to spread real-time information and resources to the Staten Island community through email, text message and a COVID-19 website page.
Since March 19th, the PPS collaborated with local hospitals and private practices to send out informational text messages to their members in Staten Island. Text messages are tailored for specific populations addressing the topics listed above directly linking them to resources, hotlines and other links for support. Clients receiving text messages can also share with friends and family to sign up – to date SI PPS has over 70,000 members enrolled to receive text updates. To address Social Determinants of Health, SI PPS also made a chat bot available through the text platform to survey the Staten Island community for new or worsening needs due to COVID-19. SI PPS uses self-reported results to coordinate with local community-based social service agencies and health care providers to close identified gaps in care and SDoH.
Clients are also directed to a community-facing COVID-19 website page developed and launched by SI PPS, with available resources ranging from assessing symptoms of COVID-19, knowing when and how to get tested, and resources for individuals, parents and families about staying healthy and safe during the crisis. This page is updated daily as resources and information develop.
In coordination with the text campaign, SI PPS has also sent the same information to clients via email blast. So far, the open rate for the roughly 6,000 emails sent has been about 22%, with a click-through rate of 9%. Topics of these emails include resources for families, telemedicine, official guidance on masks and face coverings, and for whom and what types of COVID-19 testing is available. Through the promotion of the COVID-19 website page, there has been an increase in page views. Since the launch of this initiative on March 19th, the website has received over 18,000 page views with 18% returning users. This shows that community members are returning to the COVID page to revisit resources.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has quickly changed daily life across the country, including the way people in our communities seek health and social care. It is an alarming and confusing time for anyone trying to navigate rapidly evolving changes to much needed resources. Staten Island PPS is enhancing its role in the community, responding to the Covid-19 crisis by working to get virus-related updates, resources and information to the Staten Island community and implementing strategies to reduce the likely utilization surge our health system will face following the peak of the virus. Staten Island PPS is at full capacity with staff working remotely to help Medicaid members and beyond access social determinant of health resources, behavioral health support and chronic disease management tools.
The WeSource SDOH platform created by SI PPS is updated in real time to reflect changes in resource referral agencies and availability of services. Staten Island residents can access the SDOH platform and closed-loop referrals to resources via navigators in the community and remotely online via a link sent through text. SI PPS is expanding to all behavioral health partners access to a virtual recovery app called eRecovery by CHESS Health, in use by Richmond University Medical Center, YMCA, and others offering virtual support groups and messaging with counselors. These organizations are still offering their regularly scheduled programs, including MAT and psychiatry services, remotely over the phone or through video chat. SI PPS has assessed the capacity of primary care partners to continue services, offering telephonic and video appointments to their patients. Remote monitoring and other virtual tools to help patients manage chronic diseases in the home will be launched in the coming weeks.
Staten Island PPS has also expanded its efforts to get real time information to the community through text and email blasts sent twice a week. Text messages are tailored for specific populations addressing the topics listed above directly linking them to resources, hotlines and other links for support. Clients receiving text messages can also share with friends and family to sign up – to date SI PPS has over 70,000 members enrolled to receive text updates. Clients are also directed to a community-facing COVID-19 website page developed and launched by SI PPS, with available resources ranging from assessing symptoms of COVID, knowing when and how to get tested, and resources for individuals, parents and families about staying healthy and safe during the crisis. This page is updated daily as resources and information develop. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, Staten Island PPS continues to monitor the situation and updates the messaging appropriately.
Written by Nadeen Makhlouf
Peer advocates are uniquely positioned to help alleviate the burden by focusing on clients coming into the emergency room for Substance use and behavioral health related illness during the COVID pandemic. New York has been identified as an epicenter for the COVID-19 pandemic with 67,131 cases. Over 3,000 of those cases are on Staten Island. The numbers are expected to rise as we reach the “peak” of individuals infected in the coming weeks. Emergency room departments and healthcare professionals are expected to be overwhelmed with an increase of COVID-19 positive patients. Managing and outreaching to clients is essential to reduce ER pressures.
The implications of social distancing are contributing to higher demand for mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) services, according to PPS healthcare sources. Peer advocates continue to engage patients amidst the pandemic unless the patient tests positive for COVID-19. Under such circumstances, the appropriate resources are provided to the medical team.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “the role of the peer support worker has been defined as one who offers help, based on the shared understanding, respect, and mutual empowerment between people in similar situations. Peer support has been described as a system of giving and receiving help based on key principles that include shared responsibility and mutual agreement of what is helpful.”
Since the beginning of 2020, the peers at Richmond University Medical Center on Staten Island have engaged a total 568 patients in the emergency room with the breakdown of engagements as follows; 201 in January, 182 in February, and 185 in March. Peers also provide Narcan training and from January 2020 – March 31st a total of 346 kits have been distributed. In March, a total of 115 kits and training took place. Four peer advocates cover the ED seven days a week. They help create an environment of hope and wellness in an acute care setting such as the ED and can immediately engage patients using recovery principles. In addition, they are equipped to help patients navigate the healthcare system by acting as a bridge and connecting them to the appropriate level of care based on their needs. Patients are followed by the peer advocates for a total of four weeks.
It is generally accepted that once we overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a rise in SUD cases or relapse due to the isolation. This may trigger an increase to ED visits by that population, in which case, the peer advocate team would be crucial in helping provide the appropriate support.
In partnership with the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association (AHHA), the Continuous Improvement in Care – Cancer (CIC Cancer) research project will be hosting an inaugural conference in to raise awareness of value-based healthcare in March 2021. Hear from our Executive Director, Dr. Joseph Conte, and other leaders in healthcare, who will be speaking about on the tools and techniques that support successful value-based initiatives and barriers to implementation.
Through this inaugural event, AHHA and CIC Cancer aim to showcase and celebrate value-based healthcare innovation, initiatives, implementation, research, and training from all areas of the health care system. Their aim is to make the content ‘real’, applicable, and relevant to healthcare providers, policymakers, and clinicians.
It is expected that the conference will attract 250-350 delegates, consisting of senior clinical health professionals, hospital and health service managers, policy makers, consumers, academics, and health services researchers. Opportunities will also be made available to emerging clinicians and policy makers of the future. Focus will be placed on appealing to local, national, and South East Asian and New Zealand health services and institutions.
You can learn more about the conference here at www.ciccancer.com/vbhcconf.