(BOSTON, MA) – Community Catalyst today announced it has been awarded a $500,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation to increase consumer and community engagement in the development of hospital community benefit programming and new federal regulations governing community benefit programs under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“Under the Affordable Care Act, we believe that community benefit can and should become a more valuable tool and resource for addressing the nation’s health disparities,” said David Fukuzawa, The Kresge Foundation’s program director for Health. “Consumer voice will be needed to enhance the effectiveness of community benefit, and the Kresge Foundation is pleased to support Community Catalyst in building that voice.”
Over a three-year period, Community Catalyst will tap into its extensive network of state-based advocates to build a national coalition to educate federal, state and local policymakers on the importance of community engagement in community benefit programs and to advocate for strong federal community benefit regulations. It will also build cross-sector collaborations with leaders in the hospital and public health sectors, with the goal of sharing knowledge, building skill sets, and promoting effective community benefit practices. At the same time, Community Catalyst will pilot programs to train members of low-income and minority communities to effectively engage in community benefit program planning with local hospitals and public health.
Hospital community benefit programs can help address many of the health needs of low-income and minority communities, who face a higher prevalence of systemic barriers to health care that impact health and exacerbate disease. Community benefit programs are most often associated with non-profit hospitals, which receive billions in federal, state and local tax breaks to dedicate resources to address the needs of the local community.
“The Kresge Foundation’s support will go a long way in helping us strengthen the role and voice of consumers in ensuring tax-exempt hospitals are fulfilling their obligations to local communities,” said Robert Restuccia, executive director of Community Catalyst. “We believe this project will empower community advocates to engage with local hospitals around community benefit programs, help better direct health care resources to strengthen communities, and lead to stronger federal community benefit standards.”
The ACA establishes new federal requirements for tax-exempt hospitals around community benefit and financial assistance programs, and federal agencies are currently in the process of developing regulations to carry out the new rules.
About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to quality affordable health care for all. Community Catalyst works in partnership with national, state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations, providing leadership and support to improve the health care system so it serves everyone – especially vulnerable members of society. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Read or comment on our blog at http://blog.communitycatalyst.org/. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.