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Catholic Charities West Virginia Wins $333K Innovation Challenge

Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) was announced as the winner of the Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) Social Innovation Challenge. CCWVa will receive a $333,333 grant for its innovative Hospital Transition Program.

“We are incredibly grateful to CCUSA for this opportunity that will improve health outcomes for so many West Virginians,” said Beth Zarate, CCWVa Chief Executive Officer. “More and more Catholic Charities agencies across the country are focusing on community-based health initiatives, holistically addressing the needs of the people we serve. We are thrilled to bring a program of this nature to West Virginia.”

The CCUSA Innovation Challenge aimed to inspire Catholic Charities agencies to propose a fresh solution toward reducing poverty.

“These awards are a testament to our strong commitment to exploring inventive ways to meet the increasing needs of our brothers and sisters who depend on Catholic Charities agencies for help and hope,” said Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, CCUSA President and CEO. “We are excited to see how these programs progress and look forward to assessing their impact on promoting paths out of poverty and suffering.”

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

A CCWVa case manager will coordinate with the hospital team to work with patients prior to discharge. The case manager will provide individualized supportive services, following up with the patient to ensure they understand discharge instructions and are connected to community resources.

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

The program focuses on basic chronic disease management, home safety, support networks and food security from a nutritional angle.

“As hospitals implement interventions to improve discharge transitions, it is important to understand patients’ perspectives on which intervention components are most beneficial,” said Heidi Porter, Wheeling Hospital Director of Quality Management. “This partnership allows us to partner with patients post discharge in a very unique way. We are thrilled to work with Catholic Charities and make a positive impact on the most vulnerable patients.”

Additionally, space will be made available within the hospital for a “food pharmacy” – a food pantry for those with fixed or low incomes to visit before they are discharged. Volunteers from local parishes will collaborate to help operate and stock the pantry with donations of nutritious foods specific to certain chronic illnesses. Client-centered patient education will be a key component of the food pharmacy.

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

View a video about the innovative Hospital Transition Program.

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