KELLOGG FOUNDATION: Launches Major Health Care Effort
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation yesterday announced a $55 million national project, Community Voices, to help improve health care access and quality to the underserved. It is the single-largest start-up initiative in the foundation's history, and, according to the foundation, the single largest philanthropic effort aimed at improving health care access and quality in the U.S. The foundation said the program is designed to ensure the survival of safety-net providers and to strengthen community support services "given the unlikely prospect of achieving universal health coverage in the next five years." Dr. Henrie Treadwell, the program's director, said, "Bold, sustained action is needed to develop new ways to improve access to quality health care. The size and scope of Community Voices reflects the compelling need to improve and include 70 million Americans who are currently underserved into the best health care system the nation has to offer. The community level is the place to start this transformation."
Takin' It To The Streets
The foundation will support 13 local health care learning laboratories that were chosen from 80 applicant cities as the cornerstone of the project. The sites will be provided with communications, research and technical assistance to help educate the public and policy makers on the importance of improving health care to the underserved. The laboratories will include front-line providers who will provide health care services to the uninsured to take advantage of breakthroughs in medical technology and preventive medicine to which they normally would not have access. Treadwell said, "These Community Voices will spur solutions and lift a renewed national dialogue on how to provide health care to all." The localities which have been awarded grants are: Oakland/Alameda County; Albuquerque; Baltimore; California Native Americans (11 tribes); Denver; Detroit; El Paso, TX; Lansing/Ingham County, MI; Miami; rural North Carolina; Northern Manhattan, NY; Washington, DC, and West Virginia. All were chosen "to serve some of the hardest-to-reach populations, including poor urban areas, immigrant health, native American health, rural care and the homeless" (release, 8/12).
The Motor City
The Detroit Free Press reports that Detroit was awarded $1 million per year for five years, while the Lansing/Ingham County group will receive $2.5 million over the same period. In Detroit, the money will go to a "consortium of four Detroit-area medical centers," which experts feel will be especially helpful in a city where 137,000 are uninsured. Davis Anthony, a member of the Detroit executive committee, said, "We already provide care for the uninsured. This will allow us to provide it in a more coordinated fashion, allow us to learn who the uninsured are and act as advocates based on what the real needs of the population might be" (Herzog, 8/13).