Hospital funded grant list is announced

A five-member selection committee Monday announced the names of the Island’s social service and health care nonprofit organizations and government departments that will receive a share of more than $1.1 million.

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is required to distribute that amount over five years, under state Department of Public Health (DPH) guidelines.

The committee awarded four one-year awards, or “mini-grants,” of $5,000 each and four multi-year “priority grants” in the amount of $51,670 paid out over five years.

The mini-grant recipients are: Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) to enhance the Daybreak Clubhouse Health and Wellness Promotion Program; Let’s Move Martha’s Vineyard Coalition, a subcommittee of the Dukes County Health Council that has enlisted in Michelle Obama’s national fight against obesity; Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard children’s bereavement program; and Vineyard Village at Home for transportation to healthcare services.

Priority grants were awarded to a coalition of the VNA/Island Health Clinic/Vineyard Health Access program to target chronic disease in the community; the Island boards of health for a program to reduce the Island-wide incidence and severity of tick-borne illnesses; MVCS new paths recovery program; and the Councils on Aging Collaborative for counseling for outreach and referral for the elderly.

Although the priority grants are for five-year terms each recipient will be subject to an annual review.

The hospital was required to provide the dollars as part of its approval process. DPH requires that new health care facilities provide a pool of money, generally five percent of a project’s cost, for community health initiatives (CHIs)

Although the hospital provides the money, the hospital was limited in influencing where the money goes. DPH supervised a grant application process and the creation of a planning group that supervised the process.

One complication was the close-knit nature of the Island’s nonprofit and health care community.

Finding people familiar with the health care landscape but unconnected to any grant applicants presented something of a challenge. A five-member grant review committee was made responsible for reading all the grant applications and making the final award determinations.

Dedie Wieler, hospital chief quality officer and a member of the review committee, said that the committee included people who are familiar with grants and grant judging. It included Sue Silk of West Tisbury, Terry Appenzellar of Oak Bluffs, Sue Hruby of West Tisbury, and Dr. Gerry Yukevich of Tisbury and Vineyard Medical Services, a walk-in clinic independent of the hospital.

Although the pool of money stands at $1,133,400, the initial amount was calculated at $2 million, based solely on the cost of the hospital construction project.

Under earlier DPH guidelines, the hospital received approval to spend $925,000 to add new primary care physicians based on the community and the hospital’s need for primary care physicians.

Last year, the hospital sought DPH approval to add a new MRI to the hospital project, which put another $65,000 into the pot. The money the hospital previously allocated for specific projects was rolled into the new money and fell under revised guidelines meant to promote community health initiatives.

According to DPH, “The Community Health Initiative program is intended to foster collaborations between applicant institutions and community-based partners to improve the health status of vulnerable populations and to build community capacity to promote social determinants of good health.”