Friday, February 15, 2013 - WMC and Healthy Families NSV Receive Expansion Grant
Winchester Medical Center (WMC) has been awarded funding through the Virginia Department of Health, Division of Child and Family Health, that will enable Healthy Families Northern Shenandoah Valley to expand services in the City of Winchester and Warren County. The $520,600 grant from the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program enables WMC and Healthy Families NSV to hire seven additional staff to provide home visitation outreach to an additional 100 families and expand in-hospital assessment by 240 families.

The announcement was made this morning by Healthy Families NSV and WMC at the health care session of the Top of Virginia Chamber’s Community Leadership Program at the Our Health campus in Winchester. After his presentation to participants on the Affordable Care Act, Mark H. Merrill, president and CEO of Valley Health and Winchester Medical Center, shared news of the grant, made possible thanks to federal Affordable Care Act funds and, locally, community partnerships with key health, education and social service agencies.

For nearly 15 years Winchester Medical Center has been the host agency for Healthy Families Northern Shenandoah Valley, part of the Healthy Families Virginia state system, nationally accredited by Healthy Families America through Prevent Child Abuse Virginia. Healthy Families NSV provides education and support to more than 125 families each year in the City of Winchester, Frederick, Clarke, and Warren counties in order to promote healthy births and continued nurturing so that children reach school age emotionally and physically healthy.

“This prevention model with first time parents really works,” notes Healthy Families NSV Board Chairman Michael Foster. “We are thrilled to be able to reach more families and children right from the start through home visitation services in Winchester City and Warren County.”

In 2012, Healthy Families NSV efforts resulted in:
• 635 first-time parents screened & assessed at Winchester Medical Center and Warren Memorial Hospital for parenting needs and referred to community support services
• 106 families served through in-home visitation services
• 100% of served families have a primary physician for their child, reducing the number of Emergency Department visits
• 92.5% of babies have up-to-date immunizations (most delays due to illness)
• 100% of enrolled teen mothers postponed a second pregnancy for 24 months from their first child’s birth
• 100% participated in regular developmental screenings; all noting delays were referred for early intervention services.

The MIECHV project will expand home visitation services for women who are pregnant for the first time or have a newborn younger than four months of age, and reside in either the City of Winchester or Warren County. The funds are intended to assure effective coordination and delivery of critical health, development, early learning, child abuse and neglect prevention, and family support services to these children and families through home visiting programs.

“Through the MIECHV grant, we will be part of a national effort to build high quality, comprehensive, statewide early childhood systems for pregnant women, parents and caregivers, and children from birth to 8 years of age – and, ultimately, to improve health and development outcomes,” says Healthy Families NSV Executive Director Sara Schoonover-Martin. “We have been working with our key community stakeholders for nearly two years to become a part of this larger initiative. This was our third grant submission for the MIECHV funding. The third time was a charm for our community.”

Twenty-two community partners provided letters of support for the grant application and will continue to serve as Healthy Families NSV collaborators: Winchester Medical Center, Warren Memorial Hospital, Our Health, Inc., City of Winchester Department of Social Services and Winchester Police Department, Warren County Board of Supervisors, Lord Fairfax Health District VDH, Child Development Clinic of Northwest Virginia, Winchester Pediatric Clinic, Community Prenatal/Language Access Program, The Laurel Center, Warren County Department of Social Services, Apple Country Head Start, Skyline CAP Head Start, Grafton Infant and Toddler Connection of Shenandoah Valley, Front Royal Pediatrics, United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley, United Way Front Royal/Warren County, Shenandoah Valley OB/GYN, Winchester Public Schools, Warren County Public Schools, and Northwestern Community Services Board.