Year in Review: Letter from Executive Director Beth Graham Celebrates Journeys of Hope in 2023

The following year-in-review letter is from Joseph & Mary’s Home Executive Director Beth Graham.

Dear Board Members, Staff, Partners and Friends,Beth Graham

It is hard to believe that another year has passed, but the passing of another year offers a good opportunity to share reflections on 2023 at Joseph & Mary’s Home and where we are headed in 2024 and beyond.

In 2023, Joseph & Mary’s Home served more adults than ever before in our 23 year history. We served people like Roz, who started cancer treatment while continuing to work and search for housing, and Peter, who was able to connect with the Sight Center to help with his blindness, stabilize his diabetes and move into an apartment. People who previously had nowhere else to turn—Roz had been living in her car, and Peter had been living unsheltered—found compassionate, high-quality care and support at Joseph & Mary’s Home.

The values of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine (CSAs) call for nothing less than excellence for those who need our care. Much of 2023 was devoted to enhancing quality standards, policies and procedures and health and safety practices. This investment paid off with achievement of a three-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in June and certification of our case management services from the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services Agency in December. These two credentials open up opportunities to enter into contracts with Managed Care Organizations and to bill Medicaid insurance for reimbursement—key to strengthening our sustainability.

As the only medical respite provider in Northeast Ohio, we must have efficient processes so that those in desperate need can easily and quickly access our care. In January, we hired an Intake Coordinator to help streamline access and responsiveness to better manage the significant increase in referrals we experienced with the opening of Mary’s Home. We are grateful for the funding support that made this possible, and we are pleased with the results. This position has resulted in a reduction in days with open beds in between occupants, and our occupancy rate has consistently exceeded 90%, ensuring that we are doing all we can to serve those in need.

To further enhance our quality, we have partnered with the Cleveland Clinic in a two-year pilot project and evaluation of Mary’s Home. Year 1 of the pilot concluded on May 31, 2023, and Year 1 data showed a 50% decrease in resident emergency room visits, 74% of residents showed improvement in self-care ability, and 85% of residents exited to a safe, stable destination, among other metrics. Residents were also surveyed about their experiences, and they reported feeling welcomed, respected and capable of self-care at exit. The evaluation is helping us continue to improve and demonstrating the effectiveness of medical respite for medically-fragile adults experiencing homelessness.

Looking ahead to 2024, we will undertake the following:

  1. Complete a strategic plan to plot a path for the next three years of our mission, particularly timely since we are a different organization today than we were before expanding to serve women and since our environment has changed significantly following the pandemic.
  2. Complete Year 2 of the pilot project and use the final report to advance medical respite in Cleveland and across Ohio.
  3. Deepen relationships with hospitals and managed care organizations to serve their patients and members and to increase our sustainability.

None of this happens without you, our dear friends, partners, supporters, volunteers and servant-leaders. You inspire us with your dedication and generosity, you keep us grounded in our mission, and you show incredible compassion to our residents, helping them feel cared for and heard. I cannot thank you enough, and I am so grateful for what we accomplished together in 2023 and truly excited for all that we will do together in 2024.

Happy New Year!

Yours in mission,

Beth Graham
Executive Director