United Health Foundation Announces Series of Investments in Community Health Centers and Support for Effective Use and Measurement of $2 Billion in Public Stimulus Funds Allocated to Community Health Centers
* Commits an Additional $4 Million to Advance Model Community Health Centers of Excellence in Miami, New Orleans, New York and Washington, D.C.
* Commits Funding and Enlists Private Sector Expertise to Assist Community Health Centers With Efforts to Maximize Taxpayer Dollars and Ensure Transparent Reporting
* Launches Faces of Hope Initiative: A Celebration of Health Center Workers, Volunteers and Private and Public Sector Support
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United Health Foundation today announced several new initiatives to support the essential role of community health centers in providing comprehensive health care to millions of economically challenged Americans in urban and rural areas. The new grants will help facilitate the best use of the $2 billion in federal funding granted to community health centers under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the transparent reporting of its impact on community health center patients. Specifically, the Foundation has:
* Committed an additional $4 million to four community health centers in Miami, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, D.C., to continue the development of its innovative Community Health Centers of Excellence, which studies have shown provide care that equals or exceeds the quality of care delivered in the private sector. The renewed grants are aimed at advancing these centers as a model for other community health centers. This brings the Foundation’s total commitment to these centers to $23 million since 2003.
* Committed $100,000 to national nonprofit consulting organization Capital Link toward technical assistance to community health centers that will help them effectively and efficiently use the stimulus funds earmarked for capital needs ($1.5 billion of the total $2 billion). The Foundation also will work with Capital Link to recruit and deploy volunteers with financial, real estate and other technical skills from UnitedHealth Group companies and other private sector entities, to assist community health centers in maximizing the use of the federal stimulus funding.
* Committed a $100,000 grant to the Geiger Gibson / RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative to develop measurement instruments and track the impact of stimulus funding on quality of care in addition to job creation. This new study will support the public expectations for transparency in the use of the stimulus funds.
* Launched, in partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), “Faces of Hope,” a nationwide celebration of the dedicated individuals who make health centers possible, including health professionals, administrators, staff, volunteers, and political and financial supporters. A key element of this initiative is today’s release of a specially commissioned documentary photography book, Faces of Hope: Celebrating Community Health Centers, featuring the stirring images of the award-winning photographer, Joseph Rodriguez. These limited-edition books, which are being distributed to community health centers and stakeholders, are intended to assist in widespread financial and volunteer support for these vital clinics.
In addition, Pfizer Inc has substantially responded to the call for private sector support, committing $50,000 to NACHC to support a new multicultural outreach initiative.
“United Health Foundation appreciates the vital contributions of community health centers and recognizes that, in this time of economic stress and financial hardship for millions of Americans, their role will be more important than ever,” said Reed V. Tuckson, M.D., United Health Foundation board member and executive vice president and chief of medical affairs, UnitedHealth Group. “Congress’ support for this work, as expressed in the stimulus package, is nothing short of extraordinary. The private sector must now also step up to the plate and facilitate the best use of these taxpayer dollars. We are pleased to join with NACHC, Capital Link, Geiger Gibson / RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative, Pfizer, and volunteers from across the private sector to do just that.”
$200,000 in Grants to Support and Track Efficient Use of Public Funds; Additional Technical Assistance
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 requires that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) submit a plan for the health center funding within 90 days from the enactment of the legislation. The HHS Secretary must deliver a report on resource utilization to the relevant congressional committees by November 1, 2009 and every six months thereafter. The quick timeline of this investment provides both immediate opportunity for community health centers, but also the need for additional support in allocating funds quickly and efficiently.
Therefore, United Health Foundation is committing a $100,000 grant to Capital Link, a nonprofit that has provided planning and capital consulting for hundreds of health center building projects since 1994. The grant will help Capital Link ensure that community health centers access and use the $1.5 billion earmarked as capital development funds in the most successful and cost-efficient manner. Capital Link will use the grant to provide approximately 500 hours of technical assistance in 2009 to advise community health centers through the capital development process, including training and education, building and equipment purchase.
In addition, the Foundation will work with Capital Link to connect volunteer resources from UnitedHealth Group and other Fortune 500 companies with community health centers in need of capital development support. Talented executives and others in the private sector will lend their skills and expertise in areas that may be under-represented at a community health center, such as capital and financial planning, accounting, real estate, and information technology, among others.
“Community health centers have a remarkable opportunity to deliver on the promise of jobs and health care access in their communities, and we greatly appreciate United Health Foundation’s ‘Stand and Deliver’ contribution toward helping us support their growth,” said Allison Coleman, chief executive officer, Capital Link. “Particularly given the current economy, the need for growth is great, and the Foundation’s investment will help provide valuable one-on-one technical assistance to move shovel-ready projects forward so more people can get the care they need.”
To evaluate and measure the effect of the public funds on community health centers, the Foundation is also committing a $100,000 grant to the Geiger Gibson / RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative at the George Washington University. This money will support a study by preeminent Collaborative community health center researchers Sara Rosenbaum, Peter Shin, and Leighton Ku to develop measures and track the quality of care delivery and job creation that result from the stimulus funding.
“The key to defining the success of this unprecedented public funding of community health centers will be evaluation, beyond government metrics,” said Sara Rosenbaum, JD, Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy and Chair of the Department of Health Policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. “The Foundation’s new grant will allow our research collaborative to measure health centers as stewards of this public money, and track key milestones as community health centers grow nationwide.”
Foundation Commits $4 Million to Four Community Health Centers of Excellence
United Health Foundation also announced today additional grant commitments of $4 million to its Community Health Centers of Excellence in four cities: New Orleans (Daughters of Charity Health Center – St. Cecilia); Miami (Jefferson Reaves, Sr. Health Center in Overtown); New York City (the South Bronx Health Center for Children & Families – through the Children’s Health Fund); and Washington, D.C. (Unity Health Care’s Congress Heights/Anacostia center). The grants bring the Foundation’s total commitment to these centers to $23 million since 2003.
Published studies by The George Washington University Medical Center have documented that these centers can and do provide high-quality health care that equals or exceeds care provided in the private sector. The success of the Foundation’s Community Health Centers of Excellence initiative demonstrates what these clinics can achieve with additional support. This model can be replicated by other centers across the country.
$50,000 Grant from Pfizer to Fund Multicultural Initiative
To supplement the public support available and its own commitments, the United Health Foundation also has enlisted additional, private funding from Pfizer Inc in the amount of $50,000. These funds will be provided to NACHC and will be dedicated to a multicultural outreach initiative focused on promoting new health centers among multicultural groups – especially blacks and Hispanics, who represent a disproportionate share of the uninsured.
Pfizer also will continue to support Federally Qualified Community Health Centers through its Sharing the Care program, part of the Pfizer Helpful Answers family of patient assistance programs. Since the launch of Sharing the Care in 1993, Pfizer has helped 4.5 million patients receive 17 million Pfizer prescriptions for free through participating health centers, the equivalent of $1.3 billion worth of Pfizer medicines (at wholesale cost).
This critical private sector involvement represents a growing appreciation of community health centers’ important role as a health care safety net for underserved populations.
Foundation, NACHC Launch Faces of Hope Initiative with Hill Briefing, Exhibit, Web Site
The United Health Foundation and NACHC also introduced “Faces of Hope,” an initiative to highlight the positive impact these centers make on the communities they serve, underscore the continued need for these centers to grow and thrive, and encourage expanded support for them. Both organizations together with the Alliance for Health Reform hosted a briefing luncheon today on Capitol Hill to discuss the impact of the stimulus package funding on community health centers, and the resources available to help centers access and make efficient use of these funds. To view the agenda for the luncheon, please visit www.allhealth.org. An archived webcast also will be available on the Kaiser Family Foundation Web site, www.kff.org.
A public exhibit of Faces of Hope: Celebrating Community Health Centers, featuring images by acclaimed photographer Joseph Rodriguez from the book of the same name, will be on view in the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda in Washington, D.C. from March 2 to March 6. The documentary photography book was published by the Foundation and brings to life the extraordinary contributions of the people who make health centers possible. The book was printed as a limited edition and is not for sale.
“Community health centers are an excellent investment that generates substantial benefits for patients, communities, insurers and governments alike. We at NACHC are grateful to Congress, and to entities like the United Health Foundation and others in the private sector, for their ongoing, generous support. The Faces of Hope initiative encourages everyone to do their part, no matter how big or small, to ensure that community health centers can continue to expand and thrive as a critical part of our health care system,” said Dan Hawkins, senior vice president, policy and programs at NACHC.
The nation’s more than 7,000 community health center sites provide a medical home for more than 18 million people, many of whom are among the nation’s 46 million uninsured and 25 million underinsured. For these medically disenfranchised, the centers are an important safety net, improving access to preventive and primary care and helping to reduce health disparities. According to NACHC, and independent research, these centers have actually improved health outcomes and lowered the costs of treating patients with chronic illnesses.
“In the final analysis, all of us should have the opportunity to support this work, through volunteerism or through philanthropic activities, whether via community charities or our workplace contributions,” said Dr. Tuckson.
For more information about community health centers and ways to support them, please visit www.facesofhopecampaign.org. In addition to links and resources, the site also includes an electronic version of the book.
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