Healthy Peninsula Receives Maine Health Access Foundation Grant

Healthy Peninsula has received a $30,000, one-year planning grant from the Maine Health Access Foundation, one of four such grant recipients statewide. The “Catalyzing Rural Health Transformation” grants promote cross-sector collaborative approaches to improve health and health care access in Maine’s rural communities. Blue Hill Memorial Hospital will be participating as a core partner in the grant, as will a number of other social service and medical provider organizations that serve the towns of the Blue Hill Peninsula, Deer Isle and Stonington.

In addition to Healthy Peninsula, the other three grantees are the Healthy Community Coalition in Franklin County, Oxford County Mental Health Services, and Penobscot Community Health Care in Jackman.

This grant program draws from research commissioned from the University of Southern Maine, which compiled information from existing sources into a Statewide View of Rural Health, and related county-by-county profiles that provide a snapshot of the state of health and the health system to inform and promote local discussion and strategic planning. MeHAF has also published a series of Rural Health Innovation Briefs that highlight promising approaches to finance, governance, workforce, health care delivery and behavioral health. The models and strategies identified in the white papers will help to guide the work of the grantees and are relevant for adaption or replication throughout rural Maine.

As a planning grant, the year will be spent exploring the opinions of community members and using those opinions as a framework for developing a plan for improved healthcare delivery. Healthy Peninsula and the Blue Hill Memorial Hospital will begin their investigation with the results from the recent assessment conducted as part of Healthy Peninsula’s Age-Friendly Coastal Communities initiative.

“This grant initiative is closely related to the collaborative community work we are already doing with our Age-Friendly initiative and provides essential resources for a deeper dive into the critical issues of how to deliver quality, affordable healthcare to our rural communities. We are grateful for the opportunity to work closely with our partners at the Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, who share our commitment to bringing the community voice into healthcare planning,” said Janet Lewis, Healthy Peninsula’s Executive Director. Dr. Michael Murnik, Blue Hill Memorial Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, agreed, stating, “Blue Hill Memorial Hospital welcomes this opportunity to work with our community partners to improve and strengthen our local rural health system. These are issues that we – as a hospital system – are facing every day and we recognize that solutions must be generated by the communities we serve, not just by service providers.”

For more information, contact Anne Schroth, Healthy Aging Program Coordinator, at (207) 374-3257, or [email protected]