Cleveland, OH,
09:40 AM

MetroHealth, ESOP Partner to Help Patients Improve Financial Health

The MetroHealth System and Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP) are partnering to assist patients in their return to the community by helping them improve their financial health.

The Linking Financial Empowerment to Patient Outcomes Project, or LIFEPOP, is an innovative partnership that embeds ESOP’s financial coaches at MetroHealth’s main campus and Old Brooklyn facility. The goal of the program is to positively impact the social determinants of health for older adults, including their financial and housing stability.

Research on the social determinants of health has found health outcomes are often tied to a patient’s zip code as much as their genetic code.

“Over one in 10 Cuyahoga County residents age 60 and older live in poverty,” said Dr. James Misak, Medical Director of The MetroHealth System’s Institute for H.O.P.E.TM “The inability of many of our community’s older adults to pay for their basic expenses threatens both their economic security and their health and well-being. We are hopeful that LIFEPOP will provide its participants a path to a more secure, healthier future while reducing their need for expensive emergency room visits and hospitalizations.”

LIFEPOP is funded by the Cleveland Foundation and the Nord Family Foundation.

“Since 2014, ESOP has worked with over 20,000 older adult clients, many of whom on a daily basis have to make the difficult decision between buying food, purchasing essential medications and keeping utilities on,” said Michael Billnitzer, Executive Director of ESOP. “With LIFEPOP we hope to improve the financial outcomes of MetroHealth’s older adult patients so they can meet their basic needs.”

Through LIFEPOP, older adult patients referred to ESOP from MetroHealth will receive financial capability services. Two hundred forty them will be participating in a research study. The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging’s Center for Research and Education is overseeing the study to create a foundation for future randomized controlled studies that can establish a replicable, evidence-based program with the potential of being implemented in health settings across the country.

LIFEPOP clients will be referred to the program by inpatient and outpatient social workers and care coordinators.

The expectation is that providing financial capability and housing stability services will improve patients’ medication adherence and lead to a decrease in emergency room visits and hospital readmission rates. This will enable older adults to age in place with greater financial stability. Promoting financial health should decrease systemic costs and bring about savings for Medicare and Medicaid, reducing expenses associated with long-term care if older adults can safely remain in their homes.

About The MetroHealth System

The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.

The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.

As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.

Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.

The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.

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