As the first Bay Area Regional Help Desk Consortium (BARHC) site, the Health Advocates (HA) of Alameda Health System (AHS), formerly Highland Health Advocates, opened in March of 2013. The program works collaboratively with healthcare providers and staff at Highland Hospital, Fairmont Hospital and Hayward Wellness Center to help patients and their families with addressing social needs by improving their access to public resources. Health Advocates includes a strong medical-legal partnership with Bay Area Legal Aid, Centro Legal de La Raza, East Bay Community Law Center, and Housing and Economic Rights Advocates to offer extensive legal services to our patient community.
About the Health Advocates Program:
The Health Advocates of AHS is a volunteer-powered, consumer driven program that was founded to address the multiple social and economic barriers in patients’ lives. Our framework is built upon the principles that health is far beyond simply treating the symptoms of disease when basic needs are not met. Adequate housing, lack of access to healthy food, employment issues, safety concerns and other factors create significant barriers to good health.
The Health Advocate volunteers of Alameda Health System are your community resource connection to food, affordable housing waitlists, transportation,public benefits, and more. We collaborate with medical staff, social workers and medical-legal partners to address patient needs. The program leverages the skills and energy of passionate community members and students from local undergraduate and graduate programs to connect patients to basic resources. Through this program, we hope to improve the patient experience by making resource information and legal services readily accessible to them.
Current Health Advocate Placement Sites
Highland Hospitalis the acute care hospital for AHS and one of two trauma centers in the county. Health Advocates are stationed at various help desks within the hospital. Our advocates provide screening and interventions at the desks and in mobile response to needs at the bedside when requested by healthcare providers.
The Health Advocates are a mobile team within Fairmont Hospital’s inpatient acute rehabilitation and skilled nursing units. In this unique setting, our Advocates will have the opportunity to solely provide bedside interventions for those admitted into the hospital, practicing their interviewing and intervention skills with patients and their families.
Hayward Wellnessis a part of AHS’ network of community-based ambulatory clinics. HA’s services are integrated into this outpatient setting with a focus on integrated medicine. Advocates are stationed at a help desk in the main lobby and round with care providers supporting patient care and resource needs. Advocates have the unique opportunity of working with mid-county AHS consumers, offering the best of a coordinated continuum of care across AHS.