Posts filed under ‘Health’
Philanthropy Ohio truly appreciates the unanimous, bipartisan support for last week’s state budget bill amendment that focuses both on extending healthcare coverage for many vulnerable Ohioans and continued reform of Medicaid. We remain so grateful for Governor Kasich’s leadership on these issues and for the tireless efforts of Representatives Sears, Antonio, Foley and Amstutz. At this time last week, we were facing a state budget bill with no provisions for extending healthcare coverage. After last Thursday, the House of Representatives defined a pathway for further consideration of these vital policy matters. We now look forward to making our case for extended coverage to the Ohio Senate.
Philanthropy Ohio’s Health Initiative is a group of nearly twenty foundations and other grantmakers who together support nonprofit health entities with over $200 million each year in grants. Their commitment to improving community health status, including access to care, could not be stronger. Health Initiative members feel the urgency of having the state reach consensus about adopting extended healthcare coverage because they understand how critical the need is for the more than 275,000 vulnerable Ohioans who need coverage now—including 26,000 uninsured veterans, 60,500 Ohioans with addiction and 55,000 Ohioans with unmet mental health needs.
On April 11, more than 2,000 Ohioans gathered at the Statehouse to encourage legislators to support extending health benefits to people without reliable medical care. Thanks to funding from a member of the Health Initiative, a video was taped and produced that tells the stories of those who need this coverage. The video is being distributed statewide to media and will be shared with Ohio Senators as debate continues there. Please watch, distribute and link to the video on your own websites, if you care about this issue.
Philanthropy Ohio applauds Governor Kasich for his decision to propose the expansion of Medicaid in the budget he presented last week to the General Assembly. It’s a courageous move on his part and one that we agree with, because we know that it will bring positive impacts – both health and economic – to Ohio. As we said in a letter to him, there is no policy decision that has greater potential to improve health access and thereby the health status of Ohioans than that of Medicaid expansion.
Improving the health status of Ohioans is a subject that foundations, individuals and other philanthropic organizations have a long history of supporting. There are countless health improvement initiatives funded by more than $200 million a year by grantmakers and another $400 million in charitable contributions that individuals provide to health-focused nonprofits. These significant dollars support a wide array of services, from school- based health care to neighborhood clinics, free pharmacies and thousands of other projects that improve the health of vulnerable Ohioans. Philanthropy Ohio, through its Health Initiative project, is committed to supporting Governor Kasich’s proposal as it works its way through the legislature. We invite other philanthropies to join us.
This week’s guest post by Marcia Egbert, senior program officer at The George Gund Foundation, describes a new funder coalition whose work OGF is managing. The full article appears in the June OGF Connection newsletter.
How and why did the coalition begin?
With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) last year, an avalanche of state and local issues were unleashed on how best to effectively implement federal health care reform at the state and local level.
To aid foundations active or interested in health reform-related grantmaking, understand the new law and explore collaboration on implementation, the Saint Luke’s Foundation and The George Gund Foundation joined forces to convene a set of meetings in 2010 with funders from around the state. These meetings were to help funders understand what is actually in the law, separate fact from fiction and learn when various aspects of the law go into effect. It quickly became apparent that there was great interest in the topic (34 representatives from 21 grantmaking institutions representing a very broad spectrum of community, private and corporate funders attended the meetings) and there was substantial interest in thinking through how we might best work together—both regionally and statewide—to influence and support effective implementation of the law’s myriad provisions.
Why is this work important?
We believe this new funders’ network is invaluable for several reasons. First, support for effective implementation of federal health care reform in Ohio is far beyond the reach of any one foundation to accomplish. The complexity of the issues involved call for a coordinated approach.
Second, this project represents an unusual collaboration among a broad cross section of foundations. The launch and development of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) has been, to date, the most significant statewide collaboration among a set of health-related grantmakers, with nine funders supporting HPIO’s operations. Health care reform implementation offers an opportunity to build upon and extend that collaboration to an even broader set of partnerships.
In addition, there will likely be competition and controversy at every step along the way toward implementation. Foundations are recognized as “neutral brokers” and conveners on matters of public concern. This effort can promote collaboration over competition among communities and the state with a goal of maximizing the potential benefits of the law.
Third, while the law is far from perfect, the provisions of ACA can have a profoundly positive impact for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who are uninsured or underinsured and lack adequate access to preventive and primary care. ACA represents an historic opportunity to boost the health care access of thousands of this community’s citizens. But that potential will only be realized if we identify and engage creative, effective partnerships to make the most of this chance.
Anyone interested in more information about the coalition and its work can contact Claudia Herrold at 614.224.1344.
Grantmakers in Health (GIH), with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has awarded a $15,000 matching grant to a group of Ohio funders, all of whom are members of Ohio Grantmakers Forum.
The funders will use the grant dollars to offer grant writing support to the Ohio Department of Health as it implements the Affordable Care Act. The George Gund Foundation, The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, Kaiser Permanente, Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation and Saint Luke’s Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio submitted the proposal (with assistance from OGF) and are providing the match dollars required by the GIH grant.
Karen Hughes, acting director at the Ohio Department of Health, provided a letter of support for the grant request. She pointed out how welcome the funds would be – especially in the face of past and looming budget cuts that resulted in staff reductions – to help the department apply for various federal grants related to the Affordable Care Act.
The GIH grant is yet another example of public-private partnerships where government and private funders collaborate for the betterment of the state. It is also the first accomplishment for a larger, emerging coalition of OGF members, Ohio Funders Coalition Supporting Health Care Reform Implementation. The coalition began to coalesce last summer, when two foundations asked OGF to help convene funders from across the state.
There were two main reasons for bringing people together. First, funders wanted to educate themselves about the new health care reform law, the state’s plans for implementation and how it might impact their work. Second, they wanted to explore how they might work together to help implement the law in Ohio. The creation of this coalition in itself is an unprecedented effort among these health funders, with support from OGF: stay tuned for more about its work.