CVS Health Foundation has partnered with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFC) on a multi-year program, awarding grants to increase access to care, improve health outcomes and lower overall health care costs across the country.
One of the 2018 grantees is Malta House of Care, a Hartford, Connecticut-based clinic that has been providing services to the community since July 2006.
The Communities Served by Malta House
Malta House of Care is an independent mobile medical clinic that provides free, high-quality primary health care to thousands of uninsured adults. With a small paid staff and dozens of volunteer medical professionals, Malta provides about 130 free patient visits per week at four neighborhood sites. Aboard Malta’s white van, patients receive examinations, vaccinations, diagnostic radiology screenings and lab tests, medication, and education and health coaching — all at no cost. Since its founding, Malta has provided 48,711 free patient visits to its disadvantaged neighbors, saving area hospitals an estimated $20 million.
Helping Community Members Manage Chronic Conditions
Approximately 90 percent of Malta patients live with one or more chronic illnesses like asthma, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and obesity, and need consistent care to help them manage their conditions.
Hypertension — or high blood pressure — is a silent killer that affects many Malta patients. Although it may not cause symptoms initially, the long-term effects of high blood pressure can be devastating, placing patients at risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart failure. And for the working poor Malta serves — who sometimes hold two or three jobs while trying to provide for their families — hypertension can be particularly devastating, especially if they do not have access to consistent care.
How the CVS Health Grant Has Helped
The CVS Health Foundation Grant is helping to support the initiative “Battling Hypertension at Malta House of Care.” The program has armed 100 hypertensive patients with a Hypertension Tool Kit of resources that includes educational information about the disease and tips for lowering blood pressure, an easy-to-use CVS Health blood pressure monitor, and a daily log for tracking blood pressure. The kit is coupled with consistent care and guidance from a nurse practitioner to fight their disease.
At its midpoint, the program has helped nearly half of enrollees reach their goal blood pressure, and more than a dozen additional patients have seen improvements.
One Malta House Patient’s Story
Doreen, a 55-year-old Jamaican woman who works as a home health aide, is an excellent example of the beneficial impact of the “Battling Hypertension at Malta House of Care” initiative. Doreen enrolled in the program after a blood pressure reading of 183/115 taken during a spring 2018 visit to the Malta van. The clinic’s nurse practitioner prescribed medication for Doreen and sent her home with a Hypertension Tool Kit, which she has been using regularly to track her own blood pressure while also incorporating a walking regimen into her schedule.
After three follow-up visits and complying with the program, Doreen’s blood pressure was down to 140/79 at the van. Thanks to the home monitor, the provider knows that Doreen’s readings at the van are higher than her regular, daily readings at home due to “white coat syndrome,” or anxiety in a medical environment. According to the nurse practitioner, Doreen’s home readings have consistently been 115/70.