Johns Hopkins takes primary care door to door

Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is addressing community needs by taking primary care door to door, NPR reported June 11.

The Neighborhood Nursing pilot program consists of a team of nurses and community health workers that make weekly visits to three apartment buildings in Johnston Square, a predominantly Black disadvantaged neighborhood. The visits are free to patients and are not dependent on health status, income or what type of insurance, if any, they have. Visits are done in people's homes, senior centers, lobbies, libraries and anywhere else people can be found. 

In the time it has run, Neighborhood Nursing has successfully helped patients receive care and has expedited physicians appointments as needed. However, the greatest challenge is funding.

The program's goal is to build a program akin to a public utility, serving everyone regardless of insurance. In the past, insurers have collectively funded projects like statewide vaccination programs, giving precedent for pooling resources for a program like Neighborhood Nursing. 

By 2025, the program hopes to expand their services to four neighborhoods — two within Baltimore, one in the suburbs and one in a rural area — and visit more than 4,000 people. The program staff are also receiving training on mental-health first aid and simple techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy. 

The program is modeled after a similar initiative that has run successfully in Costa Rica for the last 30 years.

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