A coalition convened by CHEER and led by the Primary Care Coalition successfully submitted a proposal to the State Department of Mental Health and Hygiene to create a health enterprise zone in Takoma Park and Long Branch (zip codes 20912 and 20903). The proposal documents that Long Branch is a high medical needs area. Although there are two hospitals and two Federally Qualified Health Centers and several community-based clinics serving the area, cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic barriers contribute to persistently poor health outcomes and health disparities among Hispanic, Black, and Asian residents. The Health Resources and Services Administration within the US Department of Health and Human Services has designated parts of these zip codes as a Medically Underserved Area (MUA).
The proposed Long Branch Health Enterprise Zone (LB HEZ) will reduce health disparities and increase access to health care with a primary focus on reducing diabetes. The LBHEZ will also expand the health care workforce, increase community resources for health, reduce unnecessary emergency room use and reduce health care costs.
The LB HEZ strategies for achieving these goals build on and strengthen relationships among health care providers, community organizations, and community members, integrating existing and new activities into a focused program to address and reduce diabetes prevalence in the community. These strategies include the following: