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NEK Prosper Awards Healthy Cents Fund

by | May 22, 2020 | In the News

NEK Prosper, the Caledonia and southern Essex accountable health community, awarded the first-ever Healthy Cents Fund grant to Umbrella, Inc. of St. Johnsbury as the lead organization representing a large group of community partners.

The group will receive $58,000 annually for three years to create a community designed hub in St. Johnsbury that connects community members to opportunities to build social and financial capital with the overall aim to increase financial security. Specifically, the grant will be used to engage the community to create a service hub and a pilot social enterprise, and develop a robust evaluation plan for both.

“On behalf of the group, we are so pleased that our initiative has been selected,” said Amanda Cochrane, Executive Director of Umbrella. “We think that our St. Johnsbury community hub and social enterprise project will prove an important community asset in the post-COVID-19 recovery. Thank you to NEK Prosper and NVRH for the platform to collaboratively innovate around solutions to some of our community’s most intractable challenges.”  

The proposal includes strong community input to design the hub and delivery of services. The group envisions a hub where people can co-create leadership programs, offer professional development opportunities, as well as receive support services and job skill training. 

“The thoughtful and attentive work of the Financially Secure workgroup of NEK Prosper has generated positive traction in improving the lives of residents in the Northeast Kingdom,” said Tara Holt, Executive Director of the St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce. “The work to create valuable cross-sector collaboration to both understand and meet the needs of our vulnerable working population is applauded. It has been a pleasure to be part of their conversations as they developed their strategy for system change.”

The Healthy Cents Fund is funded by Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH).  NVRH receives a lump sum payment from OneCareVT, the statewide Accountable Care Organization (ACO), for delivering healthcare to Medicaid beneficiaries. NVRH has committed to investing 1% of those payments in the Healthy Cents Fund.

“The advantage to the new payment methods in healthcare is we have flexibility in how we use the money,” said NVRH CEO Shawn Tester. “Rather than wait to see if our hospital and region have extra money to invest in community health – often called “shared savings” – we decided to take money off the top to invest in prevention and system changes to improve the health of people in the communities we serve.”

NEK Prosper was formed in 2014. NEK Prosper uses the Accountable Health Community model, the collective impact framework, and the principles of Results Based Accountability to guide the work. NEK Prosper now has participation from over twenty organizations, and five working groups – called Collaborative Action Networks – to champion five outcome areas: our community will be well-nourished, well-housed, physically healthy, mentally healthy, and financially secure. NVRH serves as the integrator organization for NEK Prosper. To learn more visit www.nekprosper.org.

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