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Atlantic General and Partners Formally Announce New Initiative

Atlantic General and Partners Formally Announce New Initiative

(Left to right) Don Taylor, executive director of Chesapeake Housing Mission; Sally Dowling, MD, co-interim president and CEO of Atlantic General Hospital; Peggy Bradford and Vernon Rivers, CHM board members; Kim Justice, co-interim president and CEO of Atlantic General Hospital; Tracey Age, Worcester County Health Department program manager for adult services; and Maryland State Senator Mary Beth Carozza.

On October 6, Atlantic General was joined by the Chesapeake Housing Mission and the Worcester County Health Department to formally announce an innovative partnership aimed to reduce unsafe living conditions in Worcester County. The trio met to give a news conference and sign a Memorandum of Understanding, which will solidify the agreement among the organizations and institute the new “Healthy Homes Initiative.”

During the event, co-interim President and CEO Sally Dowling, MD detailed how improving home safety is crucial for the health of the community, for it acts as preventative care for potential accidents. Those who live in unsafe conditions are at increased risk of falls and other illnesses, which leads to hospital visits or prolonged hospital stays.

Not many health initiatives focus on improving the places that people live, especially for those living in poverty, which is roughly 10% of Worcester County.

“More than 80 employees of our hospital and health system have already donated 500 hours of their time to complete six projects with Chesapeake Housing Mission. It’s exciting to formalize the partnership and continue this great work,” said Dowling.

According to Chesapeake Housing Mission Executive Director Don Taylor, CHM has completed more than 600 home repairs over the past 11 years. Taylor reported the success of these previous projects, citing a staggering 95% reduction in falls within the home. Although servicing 600 homes is a great feat, this large number only makes up 4% of single-family homes living in poverty in the area. This partnership will provide the Chesapeake Housing Mission the proper resources to continue improving the safety of homes within Worcester County.

The Worcester County Health Department has worked with CHM for seven years to identify and approve clients in need of home repairs. According to Tracey Age, the health department’s program manager for adult services, their case managers visit these homes and assess the needs for service, followed by a discussion with the Chesapeake Housing Mission to prioritize the community members who need it most.

Through this partnership, the Chesapeake Housing Mission will continue to provide necessary home repairs, obtain permits and provide the materials. Atlantic General will provide volunteer teams to assist with the projects and reimburse the Chesapeake Housing Mission for the materials they use. Finally, the Worcester County Health Department will continue to identify members of the community in need of assistance, along with providing home safety and health education.