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Catholic Charities West Virginia Announced as Finalist for Innovation Challenge

Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) has been selected as a finalist for the Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) Innovation Challenge. The CCUSA Innovation Challenge, introduced in September 2019, seeks to inspire Catholic Charities agencies to propose a fresh solution toward alleviating, reducing or eliminating poverty.

CCWVa is one of nine finalists from across the country.

“One of the many strengths of the Catholic Charities network is our ability to share innovative approaches to reducing poverty,” said Beth Zarate, CCWVa chief executive officer. “We learn from one another to advance our delivery of social services.”

Three Catholic Charities agencies will receive an award of $333,333 to be used to capitalize their initiatives.

“I want to provide our ministry a platform to think creatively and innovatively about how they address the needs they encounter in their community every day,” said Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, president and CEO of CCUSA. “This challenge serves as a catalyst to encourage ideas that lead to systemic change in the way they address poverty.”

CCWVa proposed an innovative Hospital Transition Program in partnership with Wheeling Hospital. The two organizations would work together to develop a supportive transition for high-risk patients as they are discharged from the hospital.

A CCWVa case manager would provide individualized supportive services, following up with the patient to ensure they have their medications filled, understand instructions and are connected to community resources.

2019 picture. From left are: Tami Magruder, Wheeling Hospital manager of quality management; Beth Zarate, CCWVa chief executive officer; and Sara Lindsay, CCWVa chief program officer.

“Collaboration with valued community partners, like Wheeling Hospital, is so key in our non-profit social service work,” said Sara Lindsay, CCWVa chief program officer. “Through resource leveraging, we are able to provide higher quality services to the most people in need.”

“For high-risk hospital patients with complex needs, this collaboration would provide a more fluid transition from the inpatient setting to home, reducing readmission rates and helping individuals better achieve health stability,” said Lindsay.

Additionally, space would be made available within the hospital for a “food pharmacy” – a food pantry or those with fixed or low incomes to visit before they are discharged. Local parishes would collaborate to help stock the pantry with donations of nutritious foods specific to certain chronic illnesses.

“Strategic community partnerships like this benefit the entire community, not only those receiving direct services,” said Lindsay.

The award recipients of the CCUSA Innovation Challenge will be announced in October 2020.

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