UCLA Health receives $5 million for home visit program

UCLA Health has received a $5 million gift to support a program that offers personalized health care for people with complex medical needs who have difficulty traveling to clinics.

In recognition of the gift, the service has been renamed the UCLA Eugene and Maxine Rosenfeld Medical Home Visit Program.

“I am grateful for the Rosenfelds’ generous gift to support a vital program essential to our mission — providing safe, high-quality, compassionate care to patients,’ said Johnese Spisso, president of UCLA Health and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System.

Since its founding in 2016, the program has served more than 350 patients and their families on Los Angeles’ Westside. It develops care plans based on a comprehensive understanding of the home environment, regular communication with family caregivers and coordinated management of interdisciplinary care.

According to program administrators, when compared to their peers of similar age and health, enrolled patients are hospitalized 55% less, and those hospitalizations are about 1.5 days shorter. Because the program helps minimize the need for emergency room visits, patients tend to have lower health care costs than they would otherwise.

And for those facing terminal illness, the program facilitates end-of-life care and peaceful passing in the presence of loved ones.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for this kind of medical care to be accessible and available — care that not only benefits the patient, but also supports the caregiver,’ Gene Rosenfeld said.

The Rosenfelds’ interest in home visits for elderly patients was piqued when a neighbor introduced them to Dr. Patricia Harris, a faculty member in the UCLA Division of Geriatrics. A longtime advocate of home-based care, Harris launched the program five years ago. Working with a small team of physicians and a nurse practitioner, she crisscrosses the Westside every day to provide care to homebound patients, often visiting each on a monthly basis.

“I have dedicated my career to ensuring the dignity and independence of older adults and their families,’ Harris said. “In-home care offers patients a higher quality of life, often when they are at their most vulnerable.’

The gift extends the Rosenfelds’ support for the home visit program; previously, the couple funded conference travel and research dissemination, including examining the effectiveness of in-home care for older patients. Their goal is now more direct.

“We wanted others to have access to this important service,’ Maxine Rosenfeld said.

The referral-based program currently has a waitlist for enrollment. With additional philanthropic support, the program may be able to expand its geographic reach and serve more homebound older adults, Harris said.

“The Rosenfelds’ investment in the program represents a powerful vote of confidence in our work and inspires us to dream big,’ Harris said.

Dr. David Reuben, chief of the Division of Geriatrics, said home visits have a profound benefit for older patients and their families.

“This program is integral to the division’s commitment to providing primary care for older persons, including those who become too frail to come to the office,’ he said.

The Rosenfelds made their first gift to UCLA nearly six decades ago, and their philanthropy has transformed several areas of the campus. Notable gifts have supported the Rosenfeld Library at the UCLA Anderson School of Management; the UCLA Simulation Center and Rosenfeld Hall , at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; and scholarships and endowed chairs.

The son of Russian immigrants, Eugene Rosenfeld was the first in his family to attend college; he earned an undergraduate degree in business. When he met Maxine, she was working at Hughes Aircraft Company. Together, they built a successful real estate and investment business and an impressive philanthropic legacy.

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