Faith Health Network Enhances Health Access

Church congregation clapping and happy - 7/30/2019

A sense of faith and community can improve emotional health. Social, spiritual bonds are often linked to a better well-being. That’s why Baptist Health Care has reached out to local churches to help their congregations be more proactive and educated about health through the Faith Health Network.

Navigating through the health system is not easy, but the Baptist Health Care Faith Health Network (FHN) provides “navigators” to help church members with questions about physicians, treatment and insurance. FHN is linking church communities with hospitals and primary care providers who can help their members.

“We understand that our community has a faith connection, and through FHN, we can provide health education and resources for the pastors and the people sitting in the pews,” said Joy Sharp, FHN’s program director.

Churches can enroll in FHN and select volunteers to serve as a liaison with Baptist. With the help of the FHN navigator and church liaison, congregation members can have health and well-being questions answered and become more educated about care options and support.

Currently more than 30 churches in Northwest Florida are participating in the FHN program. When a congregation member is in need of specialized care, a FHN navigator can help connect the dots as it relates to health and related social services. The church liaison is the bridge between the congregation and the health system and can provide spiritual support and other types of assistance while the patient is receiving care.

The FHN program is geared toward churches, but its services are available to everyone. It offers ongoing seminars on various health topics such as heart disease, nutrition, stress management and self-care.

A healthy community makes for a better place to live. Baptist Health Care and faith communities want all persons to have better access to better health.

“Our program is intentional, and we want our community members to receive the right care, at the right time, for the right reason,” said Sharp. “Our friends and loved ones don’t have to face health struggles alone. Faith Health Network is here for them.”

The FHN model is based on one that was created in Memphis, and it’s been duplicated in more than 25 locations, most of them having gone through Sharp’s training that is now offered here. There is no cost to join FHN, and the program is offered through a financial partnership with Covenant Care.