Back Row: Ester Parker (LifeLong Over 60 Patient),William Posey (LifeLong Over 60 Patient), David Sayen,Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Regional Administrator (Region IX), Mayor Tom Bates (Berkeley) First Row: Yomi Wrong, Executive Director, Center for Independent Living, Johnnie Mae Poindexter(LifeLong Over 60 Patient), Rep. Barbara Lee (D), Marty Lynch, CEO, LifeLong Medical Care, Herb Schultz US Regional Director, Health and Human Services (Region IX), Gladys Rivera (LifeLong Over 60 Patient), Ricardo Ruiz(LifeLong Over 60 Patient) Photo: Lifelong/Auintard

It was all smiles on Friday at Lifelong Medical Care’s Over 60 Health Center.

Dozens of dignitaries, doctors, patients and administrators gathered to celebrate the award of a $1.1 million federal grant to the 36-year old clinic. The funds will be used to hire 60 peer educators to work with 3,200 elderly over three years to better manage their health care. The aim is to get the older patients to be proactive about their health so they don’t take unnecessary trips to the emergency room.

The 60 peers will lead group classes for disabled patients and do one on one counseling. They will train adults to adopt more healthy lifestyles and encourage them to work with a group of nurses to more closely manage their own health care, according to a press release issued by Lifelong. The Center for Independent Living is a partner in the project.

Rep. Barbara Lee speaking at Over 60 Health Center on Friday

The federal grant was one of 26 given out across the country under the Affordable Care Act. LifeLong Medical Care won the grant in a nationwide competition overseen by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The grants are intended to spur innovation and improve quality in the delivery of healthcare, while lowering costs. The government hopes the $122 million it has awarded through these grants will save $250 million in unnecessary hospital costs.

Herb Schultz, a regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services based in San Francisco was at the presentation ceremony, as was US Rep. Barbara Lee, Mayor Tom Bates, Marty Lynch, the CEO of Lifelong, and other officials.

LifeLong Medical Care provides high-quality health and social services to about 22,000 under-served people of all ages each year through its network of clinics around the Bay Area.

Lifelong Medical Care: Helping the community for 36 years

Want to get a digest of all the day’s Berkeley news in your email inbox at the end of your working day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.

Avatar photo

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...