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PA Health Funder Collaborative holds 9th Annual Meeting

Sunday, November 1, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amy Seasholtz
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 Originally published by Jewish Healthcare Foundation in the
October 2015 issue of The Window


Ninth Annual PA Health Funders Collaborative Meeting Focuses on Health Systems Transformation to Improve Community Health

The network of 40 foundations that comprise the Pennsylvania Health Funders Collaborative (PHFC) met in Harrisburg on October 19 and 20 to consider transformative health system ideas and to discuss the role of philanthropy in health policy. 

PHFC is co-chaired by Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) President and CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, and Russell Johnson, president and CEO of the North Penn Community Health Foundation. Ann Torregrossa, former director of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of Health Care Reform during the Rendell Administration, serves as PHFC executive director.

During PHFC’s ninth annual meeting, Dr. Feinstein shared JHF’s work to ignite a movement around several population health issues. She described how JHF’s Consumer Health Information Activation event on July 15 helped mobilize the Pittsburgh community around population health issues, unleashing their creativity and expertise to create health campaigns that resonate with consumers. Dr. Feinstein noted that PHFC could apply a similar approach to empower consumers around healthy eating habits among those at risk for heart disease or diabetes, perinatal depression, and cancer-preventing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in communities across Pennsylvania.

Across the state, the Get Healthy Philly program is also mobilizing the community by making the healthy choice the easy choice. Cheryl Bettigole, MD, MPH, division director of Chronic Disease Prevention at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, explained how Get Healthy Philly promotes healthy decisions through a multi-pronged program that includes media messaging, new policies and legislation, smoking cessation services, school programs, city planning, and healthy food availability and affordability programs.

Rob Houston, MBA, MPP, senior program officer for the Center for Health Care Strategies, presented the vision of Totally Accountable Care Organizations (TACOs), which aim to integrate physical, social, behavioral, long-term care, and public health services in communities (for more information, see page 7). Houston noted how some healthcare delivery systems across the country Camden Coalition (New Jersey), Health Share of Oregon, and Hennepin Health (Minnesota) among them—are embracing total accountable care.

Stuart Altman, PhD, MA, Sol C. Chaikin Professor of National Health Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, joined the funders via Skype to discuss the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, which he chairs. The Commission monitors spending trends and encourages payers and providers to stay within spending limits.

Daniel Polsky, PhD, MPP, executive director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI), presented “East Meets West: Using Big Data to Improve Community Health.” Dr. Polsky described several big data projects at Penn LDI. These include developing tools to identify in-network physicians for narrow network insurance plans, using new social media tools to gain insights on population health behaviors and outcomes, and mapping primary care providers relative to need in Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Following Dr. Polsky’s presentation, JHF/Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI) Chief Medical Officer Keith Kanel, MD, presented the Foundation’s plan for using data to identify positive deviants in healthcare, observe and document why they’re the best, and disseminate the “secret sauce” of the highest performers to raise quality across the community.

Towards the end of the second day, Jen Burnett, deputy secretary of the Office of Long-Term Living at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, updated funders about the Commonwealth’s plans to implement Medicaid Managed Long-Term Services and Supports through Community HealthChoices. Following Burnett’s presentation, Lauren S. Hughes, MD, MPH, MSc, deputy secretary for Innovation at the Pennsylvania Department of Health, presented the State’s Health Innovation in Pennsylvania (HIP) plan. Torregrossa reflected on HFC’s 2015 accomplishments, including the impact of the Medicaid expansion report that PHFC commissioned. A PHFC member noted: “Without PHFC, we would still be working on our own in silos. PHFC opens the door for working at the intersections of health philanthropy and policy. This is irreplaceable. Building off of PHFC’s actions, we can create sustainable change in Pennsylvania.”