NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Outreach coordinators from the county’s fledgling violence prevention program Port City United will now take referrals and provide services bedside to at-risk patients in Novant Health’s New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
A memorandum of understanding between the two parties signed earlier this year details efforts to integrate and collaborate on anti-violence promotion and services.
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Per the agreement, NHRMC Director of Community Engagement Sarah Arthur, or another hospital designee, will contact PCU mediation and outreach team about patients who are suffering from trauma injuries, such as stabbing or gunshot wounds. Referrals will include known PCU clients and those deemed “at risk for interpersonal injury.”
A patient’s consent will be needed for hospital staff to contact PCU; in the event a patient cannot communicate with staff, their legally authorized representative can provide consent, which can also be revoked at any time.
After referral, PCU’s violence interruption supervisor will send a designee to the patient’s bedside to help connect the patients on legal, housing, and financial assistance needs. According to county spokesperson Alex Riley, the same services will be offered as are provided to those who contact the PCU Connect call center.
Three PCU employees will be granted vendor access passes to NHRMC for this purpose.
The two parties entered into the MOU on Aug. 1; a finalized copy of the agreement was provided to PCD Oct. 31.
Both Riley and a spokesperson from Novant Health described the MOU as a formal solidification of an ongoing collaboration between the two entities.
“Our organizations have already been working together to serve those impacted by gun violence and provide the support they need,” Riley said. “It is another opportunity for outreach for PCU to connect and help those in our community, whether they are current PCU participants or new to the service.”
Riley added that Novant initiated the partnership when the county adopted the Cure Violence Global model into its violence prevention program, propelling the establishment of PCU earlier this year. The model — also adopted by the recently shuttered TRU Colors brewery — reframes violence as a health crisis and uses evidence-based strategies to address socioeconomic factors to thwart violent acts.
After launching the model in West Garfield Park in Chicago, shootings were reduced by 67% in the first year, according to the CVG website. The movement is now international and North Carolina cities Greensboro and Charlotte also implement its strategies.
A Novant spokesperson told Port City Daily the MOU is part of NHRMC’s own violence intervention program, launched in October.
“[It] serves individuals from across the region, offering case management services and connecting patients with resources, including counseling and support services,” the spokesperson said.
Novant did not provide more details on the program when request.
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Based on a profile of Novant’s violence intervention specialist Tammie Jones-Hall on its website, the hospital’s foundation is funding the program for two years using a $200,000 grant. Hall’s role is to provide support and advocacy for victims of community violence and their families.
Having begun in October, Hall receives the emergency department log every morning during the week to check for victims and point them in the right direction of resources.
The MOU will allow PCU to shoulder some of those resource connections and directly counsel patients before they are discharged from the facility. PCU staff involved with this outreach will need to complete NHRMC vendor and HIPPA training to ensure patient information remains confidential. PCU also will provide a monthly report to NHRMC management presenting data on the referrals and the two parties will meet on a monthly basis as well.
Reach journalist Brenna Flanagan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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