Congresswoman Barbar Lee recently toured LifeLong Medical Care in Berkley, celebrating a $1.1 million grant the center has received under the Affordable Care Act to support an innovative program to reduce the need for emergency room and hospital visits for more than 3,200 seniors and other low-income adults with disabilities.
The three-year grant will support clients who receive Medi-Cal, Medicare or both.
"Of course, (we want) to avoid the emergency room and hospital visits, to improve the health care of the disabled and our senior citizens. That's got to be a central goal that we all have in our lives," said Lee.
"I have a sister who is disabled, my mother is 87, and I have an aunt who is 91, and my 100 year old aunt just died," she said.
"So you can imagine, I spend half my life in emergency rooms. So I value what you are doing here; I take it very personally I know how important this center is and this effort is and this initiative is to the entire community."
LifeLong won the grant in a nationwide competition overseen by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The grants are intended to spur innovation and improve quality in the delivery of healthcare, while lowering costs.
LifeLong will train adults with disabilities to support adoption of healthy behaviors among their peers and to encourage self-management, with support from a team of nurse care managers.
LifeLong will partner with Berkeley's Center for Independent Living and the Alameda Alliance for Health to achieve project goals. Improved care and better health for these high-risk patients is expected to save about $1 million.