Montefiore Medical Center (MMC) is a nationally renowned health system, headquartered in the Bronx, New York. It is the academic medical center and University Hospital for the esteemed Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Since its founding in 1884, MMC has been providing care to the Bronx community, as well as patients from all over the country. Our mission is: "To heal, to teach, to discover and to advance the health of the communities we serve." We pursue our mission through a philosophy of care defined by the following values: humanity, innovation, teamwork, diversity, and equity. Funding from Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) for construction projects through HRSA will allow MMC to make significant improvements to the Montefiore School Health Program (MSHP), the largest full-service school-based network in the country. MSHP, first established in 1985, provides a comprehensive and evidence-based model of care. It offers coordinated primary and preventive healthcare to public elementary, middle and high school students throughout The Bronx and Southern Westchester County. Over the years it has grown to its current 38 health centers serving 99 public schools in the Bronx and two in Yonkers (just north of the). The MSHP provides access to care to the estimated 42,000 that attend schools served by our school-based health centers. In 2019, MSHP recorded 96,498 patient visits. During the next two years, despite the tremendous impact of COVID and schools staying largely closed, MSHP recorded 56,203 visits in 2020 and 42,230 in 2021, including both virtually and in-person. MSHP partners with students’ primary and specialty providers to tailor services to the needs of each individual student. As students in our program approach adolescence, we continue to educate and empower them to take responsibility for their own care, creating a healthier school and community environment. Our proposed Telehealth Connected Care (TCC)
project will modernize the MSHP by adding stable broadband connectivity, bandwidth, and Wi-Fi capacity to our integrated system of 38 health care settings. Currently, the MSHP sites have been operating without Wi-Fi, which became an enormous challenge during the height of the pandemic. By enhancing telehealth technology, we can expand care connections for patients across a broad service area, provide uninterrupted access to care, extend services to their families, link patients to the nearest MMC ambulatory site, and provide referrals with follow-up to social services to address other needs that may be present. There are 38 different locations in the State of New York associated with this improvement project, 36 located within public schools in the Bronx and two in neighboring Yonkers in Westchester County. These are communities with majority minority populations, high poverty rates compared to state and national data, and limited access to quality care. This proposed project is aligned with the purpose of HRSA's CDS spending as it entails renovations to "health care and other facilities". It is also aligned with HRSA's mission and goals related to achieving health equity, and improving public health and access to quality health services. By modernizing and renovating MSHP's sites to provide telehealth technology, we can make an enormous impact on this service area which faces many challenges related to the social determinants of health, including economic stability and access to health care.