Four Foundations Announce Support Totaling $615,000 to Advance State Health Care Reform Effort
Connecticut - The state’s two leading health foundations have partnered with a New England regional foundation and the nation’s largest health philanthropy as part of a funding effort totaling $615,000 to support the successful implementation of the state’s health care reform legislation.
Passed in 2009, the new SustiNet law established the SustiNet board, an 11-member panel charged with implementing comprehensive reforms that increase access and improve quality and affordability. The new legislation, however, did not provide sufficient resources for the board to employ the necessary level of staff or support operations.
The Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health), the largest health foundation in the state, and Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, credited for the successful passage of SustiNet, have awarded $300,000 and $150,000, respectively, to support the work of the SustiNet board. In addition, the Jessie B. Cox Charitable Lead Trust has awarded $90,000 for technical support, and the State Coverage Initiatives, a national program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), is providing technical assistance support totaling $75,000.
The grants will fund nationally known experts with expertise in state health reform, including a researcher and health economist as well as administrative and other support services.
“It is incumbent upon those of us who are committed to improving the health of the people of our state to invest in the success of our state’s reform effort,” said Patricia Baker, president & CEO of CT Health. The foundation’s grant will fund a project management team of experts affiliated with the UMass Medical School Center for Health Law and Economics.
“SustiNet positions our state to be a national leader in health reform,” said Baker. “Philanthropy has a unique role, independent of government, and can take a long view as well as play a watchdog role in making sure health reform is implemented effectively in our state.”
Frances G. Padilla, acting president of Universal Health Care Foundation, said, “Connecticut has shown the political will to successfully push passage of health reform. Now, the public must make sure the legislature delivers on its promise.” She said, “The SustiNet Board’s work and recommendations to the legislature on implementation are crucial factors in determining that outcome.”
With national reform on the horizon, the Jessie Cox Charitable Lead Trust, a New England region philanthropy, views SustiNet as a financially feasible example of reform for the region and the nation. “Our grant is targeted at assuring that a top-flight economic advisor is available to help model the plan's design so that the public can invest in access to quality care at an affordable price," said Cox Trust program officer, Amy Segal Shorey.
Enrique Martinez -Vidal, the director of State Coverage Initiatives, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ), providing research and technical assistance to the SustiNet board, said RWJ is proud to make an investment in Connecticut and the progress it’s making in overcoming the barriers to improving the health care system in the state.
“SustiNet is an important achievement for Connecticut and we’re committed to helping make it as successful as it can be,” said Martinez-Vidal.
Co-chairs of the SustiNet Board, Nancy Wyman, state comptroller, and Kevin Lembo, state health care advocate, said that the funding support comes at a time when private-public partnerships are critical. “SustiNet represents a timely and innovative private-public partnership,” Lembo said. “This support will help us move the work of health care reform forward to secure quality, affordable health care for everyone in our state.”
Wyman said, “The vision is about how health reform aids Connecticut and its residents.” “We are focused on creating a cost-effective system that provides more people with better care and also has a greater level of accountability to the taxpayers of our state,” she said.