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Jewish Healthcare Foundation

Board of Trustees Approves Grants

December 24, 2008

Jewish Healthcare Foundation approves $1.8 million for healthcare improvement. The board of directors of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) has approved more than $1.8 million in grants to support health care quality improvement projects in southwestern Pennsylvania and contribute to national healthcare reform efforts.

A $250,000 JHF grant to the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI) is the first stage of a two-year project to assist up to 290 southwestern Pennsylvania primary care physician practices with adoption of electronic health records (EHR). The affected practices are applicants for participation in 5-year HER demonstration project sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). Under the federal demonstration project, CMS will make additional payments to participating practices for implementing and using EHR systems to improve care for chronically ill patients. Among participating practices, CMS additional payments could total $29 million over 5 years. The JHF grant will enable PRHI to provide affected practices with training, coaching, and technical assistance related to successful implementation and use of EHR systems. Southwestern Pennsylvania is one of four sites selected initially by CMS for its EHR demonstration program. The CMS selection resulted from a competitive application filed by PRHI earlier this year.

The JHF board also approved $350,000 over two years to establish the national Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform (www.chqpr.org). The Center will work with healthcare leaders across the country to: (1) identify changes needed in healthcare payment systems so that efforts to improve value are rewarded, not penalized; (2) identify changes needed in organizational structures and relationships among healthcare providers to improve value in healthcare delivery; and (3) encourage federal, state, and regional actions on these changes in order to improve quality and reduce costs in the healthcare system. The Center will work in partnership with the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI), a national organization that PRHI helped to found, to encourage payment and care delivery reforms that can be successfully implemented in the diversity of healthcare systems which exist in individual regions across the country.

Other grants approved recently by the JHF include a $900,000 annual grant to the United Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, and a $55,000 award to United Way's Impact Fund.

Cliff Shannon

Programs & Projects