• NQF is collaborating with 10 groups in communities across the nation to provide on-the-ground testing of the Improving Population Health by Working with Communities—Action Guide 1.0. The testing is the second phase of a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support efforts to improve population health.

    NQF continues our series of Q&As with field testing groups this month with a conversation with Melissa Cullum, the manager of community benefits and mission outreach ministries for Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Through its outreach efforts, the hospital recognized that the residents of the Geneva Tower apartment complex, needed additional support for their health and well-being. The response was the formation of the Geneva Tower Health Collaborative with Abbe Center for Community Mental Health, which provides outpatient mental health services and support, and other partners.

    NQF: How would you describe your community?

    MC: Geneva Tower is a 183-unit apartment complex in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that houses low-income elderly and/or disabled adults. This population was identified by our collaborative as being high need because of disparities in accessing care within the complex’s zip code, increased usage of the emergency department from this address, and a high proportion of medically related police calls to the apartment complex. The majority of Geneva Tower’s residents have BMIs classified as overweight or obese. Geneva Tower also has a high proportion of diabetic residents and residents who smoke. 

    NQF: What are the two biggest challenges your community faces?

    MC: The majority of the residents living at Geneva Tower are disabled. Many suffer from complex medical conditions, including chronic diseases and mental illness, which makes day-to-day living a challenge. Additionally, these residents encounter difficulties finding transportation and financial resources to access services and care. It is our hope that our collective efforts will help improve the health and well-being of Geneva Tower residents.

    NQF: How has participating in NQF’s Population Health Framework project helped to further CSC’s work?

    MC: Participating in NQF’s Population Health Field Testing Group has provided a framework for the Geneva Tower Health Collaborative to define a common goal. We’ve also benefited from the exposure to additional resources, such as the National Prevention Strategy and NQF’s Quality Positioning System tool, which helped us to identify NQF-endorsed measures related to population health that we could use to track outcomes for our project. We’ve also appreciated the opportunity to learn from other field testing groups’ experiences.

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