Sanders, Welch, Gray, Levine & Others to Speak at 10th Anniversary Celebration of Vermont’s Nationally Recognized SASH® Program
Vermont political leaders, health and social-services commissioners, and others will gather to celebrate the 10th anniversary of SASH®, the statewide Support and Services at Home program, at 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12, which has been proclaimed “SASH Day” in Vermont by Gov. Phil Scott.
Speakers will include Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Peter Welch, Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, and Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine. They will deliver remarks from Allard Square, a Cathedral Square residence and SASH site located at 146 Market St. in South Burlington.
Due to COVID restrictions, in-person attendance will be limited to speakers, members of the press and staff coordinators. The event will be live-streamed over YouTube at tinyurl.com/SASH10th, enabling the approximately 5,000 SASH participants and staff throughout Vermont as well as others to join in the celebration.
Initiated in Vermont by the nonprofit Cathedral Square, SASH is a nationally recognized, partnership-based model of care coordination for older adults and people with disabilities. It operates from 140 affordable-housing communities throughout Vermont and is free to participants, with funding provided through OneCare Vermont. SASH plays a key role in the state’s efforts to reform health care by providing population health and wellness services where people live.
SASH care coordinators and wellness nurses partner with numerous organizations – including Vermont’s Area Agencies on Aging, member affiliates of Vermont Care Partners and the VNAs of Vermont, nonprofit housing organizations, primary and community health care teams, and local and regional hospitals ? to coordinate health interventions and support for each participant. They also provide health education, chronic disease management, and social opportunities for participants.
SASH has been shown to significantly improve health outcomes, particularly with regard to hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes, while also saving Medicare and Medicaid expenses. The latest independent evaluation of SASH, published in 2019, attributed the savings in Medicaid to the fact that SASH helps participants remain living at home as they age vs. moving to long-term care settings.
“We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone with so many of our strongest champions over the years, including the Vermont Department of Health and the UVM Center on Aging,” said statewide SASH Director Melissa Southwick. “The speakers joining us on SASH Day have long recognized the value of basing SASH in affordable housing and coordinating care and services right where people live.”
Other celebrants at the SASH Day event will include Monica White, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging & Independent Living; Vicki Loner, CEO of OneCare Vermont; Nancy Eldridge, CEO of National Well Home Network and the creator of SASH during her tenure as CEO of Cathedral Square; Craig Jones M.D, chief medical officer for Privas Health and former executive director of the Vermont Blueprint for Health, who embedded SASH into Vermont’s health care-reform demonstration in 2011. Also on the program are Southwick; Kevin Loso, executive director of the Rutland Housing Authority and the longest-serving member of Vermont’s designated regional housing organizations, which operate SASH in their service territories; current Cathedral Square CEO Kim Fitzgerald; and Allard Square resident and SASH participant Penny Pero.
Cathedral Square is the statewide administrator of SASH, which is operated at the regional level by the state’s six designated regional housing organizations: Brattleboro Housing Partnership, Cathedral Square, Downstreet Housing & Community Development, RuralEdge, Rutland Housing Authority, and Shires Housing.