FARMINGTON — Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County is to receive a four-year Federal Health Resources & Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Rural Health Care Services Outreach grant. The grant allows the coalition to implement a multi-faceted program designed to improve health outcomes in Greater Franklin County.

“This grant award couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Jennifer McCormack, coalition executive director, according to a news release from Franklin Memorial Hospital. “This new funding will allow HCC to build upon its work over the past three years to bring collaborating individuals and organizations together to strengthen connections between Franklin County’s local health care providers, NorthStar EMS, community health organizations, and other pioneers in population health improvement.”

In coordination with the well-established Rural Health Action Network, the coalition and its partners plan to expand rural health care delivery, as well as access to community services with a focus on underserved, isolated and vulnerable populations. The Community Care Transitions Program, facilitated by the coalition in collaboration with the NorthStar Community Paramedicine program, is to expand services over the four years of funding to include community health advocates and telehealth support services.

Collectively, this effort aims to improve the integration of clinical care and community support services, extending the reach of primary care into the community. Services offered include chronic disease education, medication management, home safety and risk assessment, assistance with telehealth visits with providers, support for opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders, wound care, and connections to local community support services.

Referrals to the program can be made from medical practices, home health agencies, community social service agencies, and care givers. Individuals referred to the program will receive the support needed to transition through the health care system, become more engaged in planning and maintaining their health, and find a greater quality of life with better health outcomes.

“This funding provides the opportunity for increased access to both clinical and community services throughout Franklin County and makes a sustained rural delivery system that serves as a model for other rural communities,” said Tracy Harty, project director, according to the release.

“Greater Franklin County faces socioeconomic vulnerabilities that include poverty, poor health status, and social isolation. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic this effect is far greater than ever before and impacts so many lives in our communities,” said Trampas Hutches, Franklin County Health Network president. “This grant will go a long way to help those who need help receive it, and it is our commitment to ensure that we do everything we can do so our communities are the healthiest in America.”