Public-Private Partnerships to Improve Health Outcomes

Over the last 5 years EHF has been engaging with a group of public and private funders, led by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (within HRSA). EHF was able to participate in an aligned funding effort to support high risk, rural older adults through care coordination at 4 sites in 3 counties. The fun, and challenging, part of this project has been bringing in Molina from the beginning to build this on the health home platform for sustainability. The link below features a couple of the public-private partnerships including this one. 

As a side note, earlier this month was our annual meeting. It was the largest one yet, with over 100 participants from about 70 organizations. The good news is the group keeps meeting in the current administration (it was an Obama White House initiative in the beginning). The bad news is the next potential aligned funding opportunity might not be until 2020.

EHF files suit against CHS over failing to meet charity care promises

From the Spokesman Review, by Becky Kramer

Deaconess and Valley hospitals’ for-profit owner failed to provide up to $110 million worth of charity care promised to low-income patients during its tenure in Spokane, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

Empire Health Foundation filed the suit against Community Health Systems of Tennessee, one of the nation’s larger for-profit hospital chains, which purchased Deaconess and Valley hospitals in 2008.

As part of the purchase, Community Health Systems agreed to meet or exceed the average hospital charity care spending in Eastern Washington, the suit said.

But an analysis of the hospitals’ charity spending reports to the Washington Department of Health indicated that CHS fell at least $55 million short, the suit said. The litigation also accuses CHS of inflating the cost of the charity care it did provide, which could put the shortfall as high as $110 million.

CHS is on the verge of selling both hospitals and leaving the Spokane market.

Empire Health Foundation wanted to file the lawsuit before the sale of the two hospitals is finalized on June 30, said Antony Chiang, Empire Health Foundation president.

Chiang had strong words for CHS during an interview Monday: “You can’t just leave, go back to Tennessee and walk away with these unearned profits.”

In the Spokane area, the failure to provide $110 million worth of health care “had to have significant impacts” to the most vulnerable patients, Chiang said.

CHS officials in Tennessee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In Washington, people who earn less than 200 percent of the poverty level qualify for charity care. Under state law, hospitals cannot refuse to provide treatment based on ability to pay.

Empire Health Foundation’s mission is to improve the health of the region’s population. The foundation was formed with the proceeds of CHS’s purchase of the two hospitals.

Empire Health Foundation also was tasked with overseeing the contracts from the sale.

“Anecdotally, we’d heard that CHS was not meeting its commitments to charity care,” Chiang said. “There were persistent grumblings that ERs at Deaconess and Valley hospitals were seeing less charity cases and Providence ERs were seeing more.”

When MultiCare Health System of Tacoma announced its intent to purchase the two hospitals as part of a $425 million deal that also includes Rockwood Clinic, Empire Health hired a health care economist to research CHS’s charity care spending.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane. It won’t affect MultiCare’s purchase of Deaconess and Valley hospitals, which Empire Health Foundation supports.

MultiCare is a nonprofit health system with a good track record of providing charity care in the communities where it operates, said Gary Stokes, chairman of the Empire Health Foundation board and KSPS Public Television’s president and general manager. 

WSU Medical School Aims to Fill Care Gaps Around the State

Empire Health Foundation, in conjunction with Providence Health Care and Washington State University have come together to create a health teaching clinic in the university district of Spokane. The medical school aims to increase access to care, as well as increase the number of family care doctors that stay to practice in Spokane and Eastern Washington. 

EHF's Responsive & Rural Aging Grants Cycles Closing April 28th

EHF's Service Region

The Responsive and Rural Aging Responsive Grants programs are currently open  and will close April 28th at 5:00 PM. 
The Responsive program is designed to address one-timeemergent needs in our service area, Any nonprofit can apply for up to $15,000Additionally, our Rural Aging Responsive program provides up to $15,000 of funding for a broad range of one-time projects designed to help adults age 60 and over live full, meaningful lives with independence and dignity.
Click here to access our online application form. The list of projects awarded in 2016 can be accessed here. We are also available for informational meetings if you would like to brainstorm your ideas.

Contact Christina Kamkosi or Jeri Rathbun with any questions.

Christina Kamkosi
Program Coordinator
Jeri Rathbun
Program Coordinator