Posts filed under ‘Funding Areas’

U.S. House vote ends Medicaid Expansion

headshot of claudia smilingI’m disappointed in last week’s U.S. House vote repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ending the Medicaid Expansion that we have supported since Governor Kasich first introduced it. Over 700,000 Ohioans have health insurance because of the expansion, insurance that is critical to getting care – whether it’s care that addresses pre-existing and chronic conditions or wellness and prevention – that improves their health, keeps them in school or lets them get and keep jobs. Ohio philanthropies – private and community foundations, United Ways, health conversion foundations and more – are strong co-investors in improving the health of Ohioans, and, because of Medicaid Expansion’s coverage of so many who were previously uninsured, have been able to redirect their resources to intractable problems like infant mortality and opiate addiction crises in the state. Philanthropy can’t possibly fill the gap that will be left by the bill’s elimination of the expansion group and the restructuring and decreased funding for Medicaid.

shutterstock_445553I’m glad that Reps. Joyce and Turner stood firm in their objection to the American Health Care Act and disheartened that so many of their colleagues chose to support the bill: Reps. Chabot, Davidson, Gibbs, Johnson, Jordan, Latta, Renacci, Stivers, Tiberi and Wenstrup. About half – 323,000 – of the Medicaid Expansion population lives in the districts of those who supported the repeal.

The bill now moves on to the Senate and faces two distinct barriers. First, the Senate parliamentarian must determine that the various provisions are appropriately in a budget bill. Second, as I’ve been hearing for months, the Senate (including our own Senator Portman) has its own ideas about repealing and replacing the ACA and will likely introduce its own version. Once any bill moves through the Senate, congress will need to iron out the differences.

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Our advocacy efforts will continue in coming months with members of Ohio’s delegation, educating them about the negative consequences of the AHCA bill as passed and urging them to keep Medicaid Expansion and the current structure and funding of the Medicaid program in place.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

May 8, 2017 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

Make college affordable for Ohioans

headshot of claudia smilingPhilanthropy Ohio released its latest education recommendations to Governor John Kasich, the Ohio General Assembly, the Ohio Department of Higher Education and other education policy leaders on February 9, at a briefing held at the Statehouse Atrium. Building on the recent release of Philanthropy Ohio’s K-12 education briefing papers, the report, Investing in Ohio’s Future. Now. A Postsecondary Education Access and Affordability Agenda for Ohio, analyzes Ohio’s progress in making college more affordable for Ohio’s students and families and offers recommendations on how to improve affordability. The report’s ultimate vision is to ensure that more Ohioans attain a post-secondary credential of value so they are prepared to participate and succeed in Ohio’s workforce.

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Philanthropy Ohio President & CEO Suzanne T. Allen, speaks at the College Affordability in Ohio event.

Investing in Ohio’s Future. Now. A Postsecondary Education Access and Affordability Agenda for Ohio is anchored to Ohio’s Attainment Goal 2025: 65 percent of Ohioans, ages 25-64, will have a degree, certificate or other postsecondary workforce credential of value in the workplace by 2025. Currently, Ohio is 36th out of 50 states for overall educational attainment, with approximately 43.2 percent of working age Ohioans holding a post-secondary degree or certificate. Ohio’s investment in higher education, generally, and need-based aid specifically, is not keeping pace with our peer states.

If Ohio wants to continue to grow its economy, we must make college more affordable for all Ohioans or we will continue to face workforce challenges that will threaten our economic future. This report and its recommendations outline the challenges and offer solutions on what we believe needs to happen so Ohio gains ground: being 45th in affordability is not acceptable, particularly given that two-thirds of all jobs in Ohio require post-secondary education.

college-afordability_image_page_1The release of these recommendations coincides with the release of Governor Kasich’s final biennial budget that includes proposals aimed at improving higher education in Ohio. Some of our recommendations mirror or complement those proposed by the governor and his administration and we are heartened by that, and we will continue to push the Ohio General Assembly to build on these proposals to make them even more impactful, sooner.

To learn more about our education policy work and recommendations, visit https://www.philanthropyohio.org/education.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

February 27, 2017 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

Pass SB 332 to reduce infant mortality

headshot of claudia smilingThe number of Ohio babies who die before their first birthday is simply unacceptable and that is why Philanthropy Ohio supports SB 332. We urge the Ohio House of Representatives to follow the lead of the Ohio Senate and pass SB 332 when it returns to its scheduled sessions after the November election. The bill passed the Senate with broad, bipartisan support as seen by its 29-1 vote.

Consider just a few facts about infant mortality, deaths before age 1 per 1,000 live births:

  • Ohio ranks 45th in the nation in overall infant mortality rates;
  • 7 of every 1,000 babies born in Ohio died before their first birthday in 2014;
  • The rate of black babies who died in Ohio is twice that – 14.3 – and actually increased from previous years; and
  • The national rate was 6.05.

Philanthropy has worked with government and community partners to develop and implement various initiatives to address this crisis in their local regions. For example, Interact for Health and United Way of Greater Cincinnati support Cradle Cincinnati, a collective impact initiative that focuses on three aspects of reducing infant mortality: preventing premature births, reducing tobacco and other substance use during pregnancy and promoting safe sleep. Hamilton County’s infant mortality rate in 2014 was 8.8, two points higher than the national rate. Fifth Third Bank also supports efforts through its funding of Cincinnati Children’s Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth, a partner in Cradle Cincinnati.

At Home with Newborn Baby

At the other end of the state, the Toledo Community Foundation has been deeply committed to the cause of saving infants. The foundation is an active partner with the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio’s Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB program.

Pathways HUB is a system designed to find at-risk pregnant women and link them to services that contribute to positive birth outcomes. The program was created to address the high number of preterm infants born to African American women living in Lucas County. Since its founding in 2007, 1,400 at-risk African American pregnant women (2,772 all races) enrolled in the Pathways HUB and the program has shown positive results: from 2013-2015, African American women enrolled in Pathways at least 90 days had a much better birth weight rate (8.2%) than the overall rates for African Americans in Lucas County (14.7% in 2014).

These are just a few examples of philanthropy’s engagement across the state: there are also collaborations in Cleveland (First Year Cleveland) and Columbus (CelebrateOne) that our members support.

But these efforts, along with the state’s policy efforts to combat the high infant mortality rate, are not enough. SB 332 is a statewide, coordinated approach – critical if not sufficient – to reduce the number of infants who die each year.

The bill is innovative and deliberate in its focus on the social determinants of health, a focus that is critical to preventing the death of our youngest residents. By addressing housing issues and increasing the number of qualified community hubs providing services to at-risk populations the bill can go a long way toward saving babies and keeping them out of hospital NICUs. Its other provisions are also important, from tobacco cessation efforts to birth spacing and safe sleep education, to keep babies alive. These are interventions that work – we have proof of that – and strengthening these provisions will help our state move the needle on infant mortality.

Call your representative in the Ohio House to urge their support for the bill, moving it through committee and to the House floor before the end of this session.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

October 24, 2016 at 3:17 pm Leave a comment

Helping every Ohio student succeed

headshot of claudia smilingOhioans have a unique opportunity this fall to weigh in on what the state needs to do to make sure that all students succeed in school, during 10 regional meetings we are co-hosting with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). The regional meetings are one of the ways that ODE is meeting a new requirement of engaging stakeholders to create a state education plan, part of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that was passed by Congress in late 2015. It is the first major overhaul of federal education policy in years and shifts the broad federal oversight of primary and secondary education to greater, more flexible decision making at the state and local levels.

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The Dayton ESSA Ohio Stakeholder meeting took place at the Strivers School for the Arts.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Dayton regional meeting, where nearly 175 people gathered at the Stivers School for the Arts for an evening discussing ESSA. Local educators, parents, community members and funders began the evening with an overview of the law before heading to the cafeteria for snacks and table conversations that lasted more than an hour and a half. Joining in the talks were members of the State Board of Education – Tom Gunlock, A.J. Wagner, Ron Rudduck and Tess Elshoff – as well as Senator Peggy Lehner, Representatives Niraj Antani, Jeff Rezabek and Jim Butler and former Governor Bob Taft.

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State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria speaks with Jenni Roer, executive director of the Frank M. Tait Foundation.

The state’s new Superintendent of Public Instruction, Paolo DeMaria, spoke for a few minutes at the beginning of the night, welcoming participants and encouraging them to “Speak your mind because I’m looking for the unvarnished truth.” Superintendent DeMaria spent the next couple of hours walking through the cafeteria, listening to table conversations.

The conversations gathered thoughts – with copious notes taken at each table and handed in at the end of the evening for compilation – on a number of topics: standards & assessments, accountability, educator effectiveness and school improvement & student supports. As you can imagine, people had many different perspectives and opinions on the topics.

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Nearly 175 parents, educators, policymakers and community members attended the Dayton ESSA meeting.

We’ll be reading through all of the notes from the 10 meetings, identifying common themes as well as specific, regional issues, which we’ll present in a white paper later this fall. ODE is set to release a draft of its state plan in November, with a final plan due to the federal government sometime next year. We hope that our paper, along with several other briefs we have just released will help inform the state’s plan and help ensure that every Ohio student succeeds.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

September 19, 2016 at 5:01 pm Leave a comment

Help for Orlando

headshot of claudiaAll of us here at Philanthropy Ohio are horrified and heartbroken over the June 12 tragedy at Pulse in Orlando, when a gunman killed 49 people at the gay nightclub. In the intervening week, we’ve seen the nation come together in mourning and in efforts to help those traumatized by the killing of so many young people. Many regional associations, guided by information first compiled by our colleague organization, Florida Philanthropic Network, have distributed information on how individuals and philanthropic organizations can help the victims and their families during the days and weeks to come. And the country has responded: about $4 million has been collected by the OneOrlando Fund (as of June 17), including a $50,000 donation by Philanthropy Ohio member KeyBank.

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Some of the ways to help include:

Central Florida Foundation will be sharing updates on how you can help now and in the weeks and months to come.

Our Fund Foundation, a community foundation whose mission is to support South Florida’s LGBTQ agencies, is collecting tax-deductible donations. 100% of the tax-deductible funds raised through Our Fund will be donated to the nonprofits in Orlando supporting survivors and victims’ families and friends and their efforts to restore peace, joy and wellness to Orlando’s LGBTQ community.

Governor Rick Scott announced the activation of the Florida Disaster Fund, which will help provide financial support to organizations that serve survivors, their families and all those in need.

Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe page to support the victims and families affected by the shooting. You can donate to the Pulse Victims Fund online at gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund.

Funders for LGBTQ has additional resources for funders here.

nelson mandela fear quoteAt such a difficult time, as we struggle to deal with the loss of life, talking with our families, friends and co-workers about this horrific, hateful act, a colleague reminded me of Nelson Mandela’s famous words, that “courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” May we all demonstrate our courage every day.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

June 20, 2016 at 12:47 pm Leave a comment

Philanthropy Ohio Opposes Healthy Ohio Waiver

headshot of claudiaPhilanthropy Ohio recently submitted comments to the director of the Ohio Department of Medicaid, stating its opposition to the waiver the state will be asking the federal government to approve. The waiver, which the Ohio General Assembly required in its last budget bill, and our reasons for opposing it, are more fully explained below.

Our comments:

Philanthropy Ohio is a statewide membership association serving private and community foundations, corporate giving programs, government agencies, United Ways and other public charity grantmakers as well as individual philanthropists. Our mission is to be the leading voice and premier resource for philanthropy across the state, particularly serving our over 210 members who collectively awarded more than $4 billion in grants last year. We have been engaged with the department as well as the Office of Health Transformation in recent years, through our member-driven Health Initiative that focuses on the state’s health policy reform efforts. We hope that our comments in opposition to the waiver, based upon the initiative’s principals and endorsed by our Board of Trustees, provide insight into philanthropy’s perspectives on the waiver being submitted.Nurse Checks Young Patient

Ohio, with the second largest number of health-focused foundations in the country, has philanthropic organizations with deep experience and commitment to improving the health of residents and working with government to do so. In an average year, Ohio’s philanthropic organizations invest almost $300 million in grants related to health. While these numbers pale in comparison to government resources, they are nevertheless important supports in countless communities across Ohio.

Philanthropy Ohio supported Medicaid expansion, testifying at hearings and signing on to the amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court defending Governor Kasich’s expansion. We did so because of our deep belief – based upon research – that access to care through health insurance is key to improved health outcomes for what then were about 1.5 million Ohioans without health insurance. Our engagement in education and outreach activities during open enrollment periods has been extensive, supported by our members both financially and in leadership, and we have been very pleased that so many Ohioans now have insurance that can provide them with access to the kinds of services they need to get and stay healthy.

It is for this reason that we oppose the Healthy Ohio Waiver, believing that it will ultimately result in the loss of access to insurance and care for thousands of people who are dis-enrolled. Ohio has made such great strides under the expansion by covering more than 600,000 Ohioans: why would we choose to go backwards?

When thousands of Ohioans lose access to medical services – if the waiver is approved and implemented – to whom will they turn? Philanthropy, which cannot possibly fill the resulting gap. Its resources pale in comparison to what would be needed to assure continued access to cost-effective primary care. While many of our members support health clinics in their communities, we know from that history that these clinics often operate on thin financial margins and will not be able to cover growing amounts of uncompensated care if coverage is weakened. Inevitably, there will be high use of emergency departments, which analysis from the Ohio Office of Health Transformation and Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) highlights as the most expensive and least efficient avenue of care.Health Food

With ODM’s estimate of the waiver affecting 1.66 million Ohioans, a conservative 15 percent figure would result in nearly 180,000 people being dis-enrolled. Indeed, other states that implemented premiums saw much higher rates of drop-off, such as Oregon with 77 percent and Vermont with 30 percent. Losing coverage due to non-payment of premiums has significant, serious, potential results:

  • creates churn within the Medicaid system, with accompanying administrative impacts;
  • disrupts continuity of care for patients as well as providers;
  • puts individuals at higher risk for negative health outcomes; and
  • increases economic insecurity.

Additionally, the implementation of premiums has potential negative consequences for Ohio’s health care providers. The mandatory collection of co-pays, for instance, will be neither administratively easy nor cost-effective and interruption of care for those with chronic conditions makes the job of clinicians more difficult. The waiver, if implemented, would also likely reverse Ohio’s cost containment of Medicaid, an issue of critical concern to the legislature and administration. Continued enrollment has been shown to increase the health of the population and lower costs of care, so the churn likely created by disenrollment until premiums are paid, would be counterproductive. And, the development of a complex system of establishing and managing thousands of Buckeye Accounts – complete with financial transactions, monthly statements, contributions and the point system for health behaviors (yet to be defined) – will be a cumbersome and costly venture.

shutterstock_1542077The waiver also creates hardships for those Ohioans living on very limited incomes, as nearly half of Ohioans who earn less than $15,000: either totally lack or have limited banking access necessary to pay premiums and monitor accounts; often lack financial literacy; may have credit problems compromising their eligibility for accounts; and would have problems paying fees to access or maintain accounts.

We are also particularly concerned about potential implications the waiver has for Ohio’s most vulnerable – its children. Much of our members’ work has concentrated on ensuring the next generation of Ohioans, our children, have the greatest opportunity to be successful educationally and economically, which means they need regular access to health care. Healthy Ohio creates potential disruptions in care for children, including foster children and low income children with special needs. The potential disenrollment of parents means low-income children will face another barrier in becoming more successful.

It is for these reasons that Philanthropy Ohio believes the waiver does not advance the best interest of Ohio and its most-at-risk population.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

 

 

 

May 16, 2016 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

Healthy Food for Ohio launches

headshot of claudiaAt two launch events last Monday, access to healthy, affordable food became one step closer to reality for many of Ohio’s food deserts. A public-private partnership has created a pool of nearly $10 million – with more dollars possible – that will provide loans and grants to develop retail groceries in low-income, underserved communities across the state.

The pooled dollars come from a variety of sources, including a $2 million state budget allocation as well as from the federal government and individual banks. Through a competitive application process overseen by the Finance Fund, grants and loans will be available “for costs associated with land acquisition, predevelopment, construction, equipment, infrastructure and related expenses as well as credit needs not typically filled by conventional financial institutions.” The Finance Fund anticipates funding 5 – 10 projects that will overcome the barriers of opening or developing retail stores. Ohio joins 10 other states with similar projects.

The fund grew out of the Ohio Healthy Food Financing Task Force that mapped nearly 1 million Ohio residents – including one-quarter of a million children – living in areas without sufficient access to healthy foods. See the report.

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Close to 1 million Ohio residents live in areas with greatest need throughout the state. Those areas are highlighted in red and reflect low income, low sales and high deaths.

U.S. Representative Steve Stivers, who spoke at one of the launch events, applauded the partnership and its potential to impact areas like Vinton County, which has not had a grocery store since 2013; county residents must travel 30 miles to Athens to get fresh food. “I hope this program will help not only Vinton County but also other food deserts,” Rep. Stivers concluded.

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Echoing his remarks, Ohio Representative Ryan Smith – who was instrumental in getting state funds allocated to the project – said “Access to healthy food is important to battle chronic disease, healthier Ohio citizens and a positive driver in workforce and economic development. I feel confident this program will be successful.”

Philanthropy played a strong role in getting the project to this exciting new stage, including funding reports and serving on the task force. David Ciccone of Central Ohio United Way co-chaired the task force, and these other Philanthropy Ohio members served and supported its work:

  • The Cleveland Foundation
  • The Columbus Foundation
  • The George Gund Foundation
  • Interact for Health
  • Ohio Association of Foodbanks
  • Ohio Children’s Foundation
  • Saint Luke’s Foundation
  • Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland
  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati
  • United Way of Greater Cleveland

In addition to contributing to the funding pool, philanthropies could also think about how to partner with retailers to fill other needs, such as nutrition education, and for sustainability of local food stores. More information, along with pre-application materials, are available online.

 

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

March 16, 2016 at 11:54 am 2 comments

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