March 31st, 2011
Here’s another quick listing of recent foundation-related blog posts that you may want to check out.
“Clinics Get Boost from Foundation,” Daniel Weintraub, in California Health Report, Mar. 16. In this blog, part of HealthyCal.org (a nonprofit journalism project funded by the California Endowment), Weintraub writes about the recent $7 million that the Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF) awarded to clinics in the state. This funding aims “to bolster their operating budgets and encourage innovation in the run-up to the new reality under health reform.” When the Affordable Care Act broadens eligibility for Medi-Cal (California Medicaid) in 2014, community clinics (also sometimes called community health centers) “will be the health care destination of choice for thousands of additional patients,” Weintraub says.
Up to $5 million of that BSCF funding goes for flexible operating support for not only licensed community clinics, but also licensed free clinics and tribal clinics. Read the foundation’s press release here.
Foundation News You Can Use
“Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You,” Bradford K. Smith of the Foundation Center on its PhilanTopic blog, Mar. 4. Looking for a grant? Smith, who is the center’s president, notes, “Of the more than 86,000 independent, community, and corporate foundations in the United States, 60 percent state that they do not accept unsolicited proposals.” Smith offers two reasons why foundations are going this route and suggests a way that a grantseeker might still get a foot in the door.
“What I Learned at Grantmakers In Health’s Annual Meeting?” Ann Barnum of the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati on its blog called The Health Foundation, Mar. 17. Read Barnum’s insights on this conference held in Los Angeles in early March. On GrantWatch Blog, see a post by her colleague Janice Bogner and two posts that I wrote.
Health Care for the Elderly
“The Operation Is a Success but the Patient Has Died, Part I,” Chris Langston on the John A. Hartford Foundation’s health AGEnda blog, Mar. 22. Langston comments on a Geriatrics Workforce Policy Studies Center article in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, released in October 2010, which concluded, he says, “that geriatric medicine is not producing the number of new faculty needed to train future providers.” (Increasing the number of faculty members falls under the Hartford Foundation’s Academic Geriatrics and Training priority area. Read more here.) Work on this article was done under Hartford’s grant to the center, Langston told me. Foundations do not always admit when outcomes of their efforts have been disappointing, so Langston’s candor and outreach to blog readers for ideas on how to “collectively design a new program to draw new blood into academic geriatrics” is refreshing.
He mentions a few caveats: “No magic wand solutions and no appeals to grand powers,” such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—Langston concedes that he already tried that funder! Also, ideas from readers must be “affordable with the resources we can reasonably expect to control.” Langston told me he expects that those resources would be largely Hartford Foundation dollars, but possibly other funding could be solicited through a challenge grant or a matching grant.
In a subsequent post on Mar. 24, Langston suggests a new approach called “a competitive ‘debt service’ award targeting physicians in residency training who would commit early to go into academic geriatrics.” He asks readers if this idea is reasonable and notes that one Hartford Foundation grantee is already doing something similar to this. Remember, the objective here is to get people interested not just in geriatrics but in pursuing an academic career in this area of medicine! Langston’s observations are timely as the aging baby-boomers are becoming senior citizens.
Health Information Technology (IT)
“The Road Ahead for the New National Coordinator for Health IT,” Carol C. Diamond of the Markle Foundation on its Connected World Blog, Mar. 25. Diamond says that the successor to outgoing coordinator David Blumenthal “will have very big shoes to fill, but a different and equally important challenge—to preserve ‘meaningful use’ gains by finding ways to make them sustainable in broader health care reforms.” (The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, through “meaningful use” programs, “is providing incentive payments to eligible health care professionals and hospitals [that] adopt certified [electronic health record] technology” and demonstrate that they meet certain criteria when using that technology, a government website explains. A 2009 federal law authorized these programs.) This post originally appeared on Health Affairs Blog (GrantWatch Blog’s sister blog).
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention/Global
“TB: When the Barriers to Care Are Too High,” Kathleen Kingsbury on the Open Society Foundations Blog, Mar. 24. The text of this post is very short. The focus here is on ten pictures by photojournalist Misha Friedman, who traveled to eastern Ukraine in January “to document the unique challenges that tuberculosis patients in the region face to access treatment.” Kingsbury notes that almost 50,000 people in this Eastern European country are diagnosed with TB each year. (Contrast that with the figure for the United States for 2010, recently released in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s [CDC’s] Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The figures are probably not exactly comparable, but the figure released by the CDC gives you an idea.)
“Health Reform: The Coverage, Cost, and Quality Reforms Ahead,” Karen Davis in the Commonwealth Fund Blog, Mar. 23. Davis, who is president of Commonwealth, notes that in year two under the Affordable Care Act, “the groundwork for further coverage expansions, as well as important quality improvement and cost-control measures, will ramp up.” Two interesting things Davis mentions are a new Physician Compare website for Medicare beneficiaries (part of the federal government’s Medicare.gov site) and the requirement that employers disclose the cost of health benefits on workers’ W-2 forms for tax year 2011. When I was trying to determine when Physician Compare started, I came across another blogger, at Forbes magazine, who called the site “deeply disappointing.” See what you think.
“Facts Are Stubborn Things,” James W. Squires in the Endowment for Health’s Insight blog, Mar. 21. Squires, who is president of this foundation in Concord, New Hampshire, says that a year after the Affordable Care Act was enacted, public discourse on reform “is dominated by words and phrases that include ‘Government takeover of health care’ and assertions that the law is unconstitutional.” He says that in his opinion, such assertions are not based on a body of facts; they instead reflect “wishes, inclinations and political dictates.” Instead, see what Squires thinks readers of this blog should know.
“Separating Exchange Facts from Fiction,” Joan Henneberry in the Colorado Health Foundation’s Health Relay blog, Mar. 23. Henneberry, who is the project director for the Colorado Health Insurance Exchange, works at the Colorado Health Institute. She reports that “Colorado is making big strides in planning for [its] state-based health insurance exchange.” The federal health reform law requires states to begin offering benefits to exchange customers on Jan. 1, 2014, she reminds us. She explains the basics of insurance exchanges and answers some FAQs, such as “Why are we planning for health reform? I thought the federal law was overturned already. Didn’t the courts rule it unconstitutional?” Uh, oh, that questioner is confused. . . .