Group Health Reaches Out to Care for People in Need
The fragile fabric and mismatched seams of the nation's health care safety net are unraveling. Group Health works in many ways to design stronger alternatives:
Sponsored Care. This program serves as a bridge to long-term assistance such as Medicaid or Medicare disability. In 2008, we provided $2,381,589 in temporary financial help for members and donated care for patients. Read about how this program helped the Cruz-Pedro family in their time of need.
Government Programs. Medicaid recipients and low-income families often have fractured access to the kind of care that will help them get well and stay well. Group Health works with many of these families, providing preventive care and access to specialists. We make up the difference between our costs and government funding, a total of $23,825,000 in 2008.
Children's Access Fund. In 2006, we invested $2 million in outreach to eligible families and access to coverage and care for uninsured children. By 2008, matching funds and statewide partners in public health agencies and community clinics helped grow the fund to $6 million. After the first year, this effort had connected 33,000 more children statewide with health coverage, and enrollment is still climbing.
We Engage in Health Care Reform by Sharing What Works
Policy-makers envision an efficient, transparent system that delivers better care. That's why Group Health is in demand, from lawmakers touring through our facilities, to our leaders testifying in Olympia and in Washington, D.C.
Over the last 60 years, we have worked to fine-tune our integrated system of care and coverage, using the latest technology to improve quality and reduce costs. We're intent on sharing our success, so our members and all Americans can experience better health results.
And we've learned that serving many can start by serving one. Spokane resident Fred Whatley was awaiting an organ transplant when his employer switched to Group Health. Fred then faced a standard six-month waiting period for previously existing conditions it was the state law. He appealed, and Group Health agreed: it just wasn't right. So we changed our coverage, then worked to change the law. Now, nobody enrolled in a small group plan in Washington state has to wait longer for a transplant when changing insurance.
Our Medical Training Programs Serve Community Needs
Patients from all walks of life need family medicine and prenatal care, and we bring these resources into Seattle's urban core through our partnerships in medical education and community health centers.
This includes a special clinic for expectant teen mothers and delivery for moms of all ages at our Family Beginnings Birthing Center. Our Family Medicine Residency Program doctors and visiting medical students from University of Washington Medical School train here, increasing patient access to care while gaining hands-on insight into Group Health's approach to preventive care, obstetrics, adolescent medicine, and community-based medicine.
Staff in our clinic and hospital-based programs take time to mentor and teach within Group Health. Many of our clinicians also hold medical teaching positions in our local colleges and universities. Add to this our training and residency programs for nursing, pharmacy, and behavioral health, and you get a knowledge-building environment that also helps to support health in communities of need.
Donor Dollars Extend the Reach of Our Programs
The Group Health Foundation acts as a steward to 100 different donor-designated gift funds that help pay for programs across our care system. In 2008, $750,000 of such donations supported Group Health departments.
Hospice is a donor-supported program where benefits resonate beyond members' end-of-life medical care. About 700 donors gave $75,000 to our Hospice Program last year, funding grief counseling for family members and education programs for Hospice volunteers and medical staff.