Bronson Receives Award for Program to Help Homeless
Bronson Methodist Hospital has been recognized by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) as a 2019 Ludwig Community Benefit Award recipient. MHA presents this award annually to select healthcare organizations that have aided their communities in extraordinary ways to improve health and well-being. Bronson Methodist Hospital is being honored for its FUSE program, which assists frequent users of the hospital’s emergency department who are homeless.
FUSE is a community collaborative which provides participants with wrap-around services through Bronson primary care, Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and Kalamazoo County Public Housing Commission. Bronson’s providers work with FUSE team members to develop a successful plan of care. “We believe it’s our responsibility to help understand and address the social influences of health,” says Terry Morrow, vice president of development at Bronson Healthcare and initiator of the FUSE program. “This program takes a non-traditional approach,” Morrow explains. “It’s challenging, and the individual needs are complex, but we think it’s an important step in meeting the health needs of vulnerable members of our community.”
From 2016 to 2018, the program served 11 homeless individuals whose emergency room visits decreased by approximately 60 percent from the previous 18 months. Medical care costs decreased by about 20 percent every six months. Bronson is now in its second phase of the FUSE program, with 12 participants currently enrolled.
As a recipient of the Ludwig Community Benefit Award, Bronson receives $5,000 from the MHA Health Foundation to assist with community health improvement initiatives. This money will help support additional FUSE services. FUSE is funded by the Bronson Health Foundation, other local and regional foundations, and individual philanthropists.
The Ludwig Community Benefit Award has special meaning for members of the Bronson Healthcare system. It is named after Patric E. Ludwig, former MHA President and, subsequently, president of Bronson Healthcare from 1985 until his death in 1996. The award is a tribute to the legacy of leadership and community stewardship fostered by Ludwig. MHA established the award in 2004 to support innovative community-based health improvement programs led by Michigan hospitals.
Pictured: Bronson representatives accepting the award from the MHA: Beth Washington, vice president of community health, equity and inclusion; Terry Morrow, vice president of development; Michelle Smith, clinical nurse leader; Frank Sardone, president and CEO.