The Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey (VNACJ) Ryan White HIV/AIDS medical case management program was recognized for their quality and excellence in promoting access to oral health care services from the Rutgers Institute for Families, Quality Management Program Support. The VNACJ Ryan White team also received the Quality Management Award for dedication and excellence for scoring the highest in consumer access to the NJ Department of Health Oral Health Initiative. The annual Quality Awards are given to individuals and organizations that provide HIV health services in Middlesex, Somerset and Hunterdon counties.
Additionally, two VNACJ Ryan White team members were recognized as “unsung heroes” in the field during the HIV Planning Council Annual Recognition Luncheon. Among the winners were Brittany Babich, Medical Case Manager, who received the Stellar New Comer Award, and Steve Pitts, Medical Case Manager was awarded with the Faithfulness in Performance. Criteria for the award included high performance on measures within the funded service (HIV/AIDS) and high performance where there are multiple providers.
“Our VNACJ Ryan White team has been going above and beyond the call of duty for almost 30 years,” said Steven Landers, MD MPH, President and CEO of VNA Health Group. “They embody our mission, which is to deliver patient-centered care in the comfort of their own home, wherever they call home.”
“We are so proud of our program and especially the case managers who deliver these life-saving services every day,” said Shannon Preston, MSW, LSW, Director, HIV Services at VNACJ. “Brittany, Steve, and our entire team, treat each client with dignity and compassion.”
VNACJ is a member of Visiting Nurse Association Health Group and is one of sixteen agencies that operate the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, first authorized in 1990, and administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB).
For more than two decades, VNACJ has operated the federally-funded program, which serves individuals who are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, who are under-insured or uninsured and meet minimum income criteria. In 2017, VNACJ case managers care for 209 individuals who are living with HIV/AIDS, many of whom are also managing other chronic diseases.
Unlike most other HIV/AIDS programs, VNACJ’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program allows case managers to treat clients at home and in other community settings. By visiting clients at home, VNACJ’s case managers are better able to monitor each individual’s adherence to the program, assess their overall health and well-being, assist with referrals to other health and medical services and provide emotional and other support as needed.
There is still social stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS so clients in the program can feel comfortable and safe in their own homes. Many clients also cannot afford transportation and manage other serious health conditions that prevent them from going to a physician’s office. The program helps people who are newly diagnosed as HIV-positive and also those who have been HIV-positive for over 30 years.