Future Nonprofit Leaders Learn of Efforts to Reduce Health Disparities
On February 23, 2016, Brightpoint Health’s President and CEO, Paul Vitale, and Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Barbara Zeller, shared Brightpoint’s foundational story and strategies for reducing health disparities across New York City. The presentation took place at Fordham University’s Center for Nonprofit Leaders, part of the Center’s Coffee, Conversation and Connecting series that brings together leaders from the nonprofit sector to discuss best practices and management principles. Over 50 people attended the session, including students pursuing Master’s degrees in nonprofit leadership, social workers and other members of the nonprofit community.
Dr. Zeller started the discussion by explaining the devastating effects of four epidemics that engulfed low-income neighborhoods in New York City during the 1990s—crack/cocaine, heroin, mass incarceration and HIV/AIDS. Brightpoint’s integrated care model was developed in response to the lack of access to quality, affordable care in these communities. Populations affected by HIV also suffered from multiple co-morbidities, poverty, racism, substance abuse issues and an absence of adequate social support services. With the new model, it became possible to provide consistent, personalized and holistic care to patients. Brightpoint began treating patients as an integrated team of primary care and behavioral health providers along with social services. Team members worked closely with each other to prevent any factors detrimental to patients’ health from slipping through the cracks.
Paul Vitale shared key challenges facing the organization when he joined as CEO in 2009. Even with a highly successful and innovative model, Brightpoint was able to service only 66 people at a time in its in-patient facility. With the huge demand for appropriate medical care among low-income New Yorkers, operational expansion became a top priority. The shift of New York State’s Medicaid system from a fee-for-service model to value-based system, one of the goals of which is to reduce in-patient stays, presented an opportunity. Newer models of integrated and preventive care made it possible for Brightpoint to provide in-patient quality care on an out-patient basis. Vitale also stressed the organizational change at all levels required to bring about expansion of services.
To highlight Brightpoint’s strategic planning to expand a small, in-patient, integrated care facility into a more financially secure, expansive, out-patient organization, Vitale talked about four major objectives that defined the organization’s actions and decisions:
· Expand services offered and improve quality
· Build a comprehensive infrastructure for growth
· Promote growth
· Emphasize culture
To reach these objectives, Brightpoint developed and implemented a 3-ear Strategic Plan built on five strategic pillars, which Vitale shared with the presentation attendees. All major initiatives at Brightpoint are required to align with at least one of these strategies:
· Organic growth through new locations, acquisitions, affiliations and mergers
· Expansion of Brightpoint’s population and services
· Embracing and flourishing within a value-based health care environment
· Re-creation of Brightpoint’s identity through branding, marketing, development and communications
· Enhancement of Brightpoint’s organizational effectiveness to support its direction
The session closed with a story that Vitale shared about a patient named Nasha who suffers from HIV, juvenile arthritis and behavioral health issues, and is enrolled in Brightpoint’s Adult Day Health Care and Health Home programs. When Nasha came to the program, she was homeless and dealing with substance abuse issues. In the summer of 2014, she became pregnant and was referred by Brightpoint to appropriate support programs. Due to the challenges she faced as a new mother, Administration for Children’s Services put her child in foster care. Brightpoint initiated a more intensive effort to help Nasha regain custody. She began taking parenting classes while Brightpoint’s client engagement specialist, Amy Pridgen, and her social worker at the ADHC program work closely with Nasha to ensure she receives all of the necessary services. This past December, at the client holiday party, Brightpoint’s Queens clinical director worked to bring Nasha and the foster family together so that she could meet her baby. Brightpoint continues to work with Nasha to get her stable housing and other support with the goal of being able to be remove her child from foster care and be a responsible, effective mother.
This story is just one of many examples at Brightpoint Health that show our mission and core values at work in the community—providing comprehensive health and wellness services that dramatically improve the health and lives of New Yorkers.