— Innovative programs tap registered nurses, paramedics to deliver in-home healthcare check-ups for vulnerable residents in west Orange County —

With funding from the District, a team of paramedics will soon make in-home visits to check on local patients with chronic diseases.

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. (November 14, 2018) — Pregnant moms and patients with chronic diseases in west Orange County are the focus of two new innovative healthcare programs recently awarded grant funding by the West Orange Healthcare District. The grants are part of $768,925 awarded to five area organizations, bringing the District’s six-year total local investment to more than $130 million.

“We’ve seen access to healthcare increase tremendously in just the past few years but there’s so much more to do,” said District CEO Tracy Swanson. “There are many in west Orange County who, for a variety of reasons, are still unable to consistently access regular medical care. We’re excited about these new programs because they help us bring medical care and monitoring right into the very homes that need it most.” 

The Nurse-Family Partnership program is a well-researched, evidence-based national initiative to be expanded in west Orange County by the Healthy Start Coalition of Orange County. The program pairs a specially trained registered nurse with low-income women from the time they become pregnant through the child’s second birthday. Funded in part by a $195,415 grant from the District, a team of nurses will visit 50 women and their families in their homes at least twice a month to encourage healthy behaviors for both mother and baby and ensure they are thriving physically, mentally and emotionally.

The program, which will be tailored based on the individual needs of each expectant mom and her family, is designed to reduce the number of low birth-weight babies by encouraging healthy-baby behaviors such as good nutrition, completion of immunizations and a reduction in parental smoking. According to a 2013 study commissioned by the March of Dimes, the average medical cost of a healthy, full-term baby was $5,085, while premature and/or low birth-weight babies needed more than $55,000 in medical care.

A second in-home healthcare program funded by the District — Happy, Healthy and at Home in West Orange — will establish a team of dedicated paramedics to provide home care management visits to local residents living with chronic health conditions. The two-year program, funded in full by a $249,000 District grant, was developed by the Health Council of East Central Florida to reduce hospital readmissions. The Council activated a similar program in Seminole County in 2017, where readmissions of Medicare fee-for-service patients participating in the program went from 19 percent to less than one percent in 12 months.

The District also awarded grant funding to:

  • UCP of Central Florida to expand mental health and behavioral programs for approximately 100 children with disabilities in west Orange County. The $83,000 grant will help create programming and resources to evaluate and develop mental-health treatment plans; provide individual, group and family therapy; and measure local outcomes.
  • Special Olympics Florida to help activate national special-education programs in 35 west Orange County schools. A $75,000 District grant will help the organization recruit and train teachers, coaches and volunteers to activate the programs, which promote social inclusion and prepare students with intellectual and developmental disabilities for sport-specific activities.
  • The Polis Institute to improve economic opportunities and health outcomes of residents living in east Winter Garden. The organization, which focuses on revitalizing distressed neighborhoods in Central Florida, will receive $166,510 over two years to engage local residents in programs to help them lead their community, become financially savvy and live healthier lives.

About the West Orange Healthcare District

The West Orange Healthcare District (WOHD) is an independent special healthcare district created in 1949 by the Florida Legislature and governed by a 16-member board appointed by the Governor of Florida. Since 2012, the District has awarded more than $130 million in local community grants to enhance residents’ health and wellness. For more, visit www.wohd1949.org. The District is also a proud founding champion of “Healthy West Orange,” a grassroots movement to inspire west Orange County to become the healthiest community in the nation. For more, visit healthywestorange.org.