Grace Cottage Hospital Expands Free Health Services
Thanks to a grant from the Fanny Holt Ames and Edna Louise Holt Fund, Grace Cottage Family Health in Townshend has nearly doubled the capacity of its Community Health Team. The Holt sisters were both long-time advocates of the non-profit hospital. The three-year grant allows for additional healthcare professionals to work with patients in address ing chronic health concerns and help them reach attainable goals for wellness. The services are free of charge to anyone in the region. “This is very exciting news for Grace Cottage and the community that we serve,” said Crystal Mansfield, director of the Community Health Team (CHT). “The need is evident, as our staff has been fully booked. Now we’ll be able to help more people achieve healthy lifestyles, and that is very exciting!”
A registered nurse was added to the team in January for additional diabetes management support, a second health coach was hired, and the current behavioral health specialist’s hours were doubled to allow for counseling more patients. The CHT is now comprised of six specialists and has an opening for one more. Services include chronic disease management, nutrition and exercise education, short-term mental health counseling and substance abuse assessment. The CHT also provides free support groups and workshops on an on-going basis.
Working alongside the CHT is resource advocate Jane Wheeler who offers free help in connecting to community resources for things like food stamps and fuel assistance. The door to the Community Health Team opens in one of two ways. If an individual is a patient of Grace Cottage Family Health, his or her primary care provider might recommend an appointment with a particular member of the CHT after considering the patient’s medical condition and needs. However, a referral is not necessary. Any resident of southern Vermont can contact the CHT directly and make an appointment. There is no need to provide insurance information or worry about co-pays and deductibles. And now, with the recent expansion, lead times for appointments are shorter than ever.
Grace Cottage is a Critical Access Hospital, Rural Health Clinic and rehabilitation center, operating in Townshend since 1949. For information about the CHT, go to gracecottage.org or call 802-365-3715.