For more information, contact:

Joe Sutherland, 301-652-1558











Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Project Aims to Help Local Communities Explore New Ways to Provide Health Care Services to an Increasing

 Number of Uninsured Persons



            PRINCETON, N.J. – Fourteen communities have received three-year grants from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to develop programs to help organize, finance and provide health care services to people without insurance. The grants, which average $700,000, were made under a program called Communities in Charge:  Financing and Delivering Health Care to the Uninsured, which challenges local communities to rethink how funds and services are organized for the uninsured. 


            “Increasingly, the challenge of providing health care to the uninsured is falling disproportionately to local communities,” said Judith Whang, senior program officer at RWJF.  Communities in Charge is intended to give communities the chance to test new ways of organizing and financing care locally for the uninsured.”


            Examples of projects include the Inland Northwest In Charge Initiative (INIC) in Spokane, Washington, which will link regional health care, business, and civic leaders to enrich and expand the services of the existing enrollment organization, Health For All.  The new funding will assist Health For All in identifying more uninsured persons and offering them improved access to affordable and comprehensive health care services.  INIC plans to strengthen this effort by building relationships with providers, health plans, local and state government to provide the uninsured with health insurance or direct access to affordable health care services.  The project will also seek state support for new ways to subsidize and enroll high-risk uninsured persons in disease management programs.  INIC further aims to enrich current health programs for the uninsured, such as low-cost pharmaceuticals, school-based health services, asthma management and improvements in access to mental health services.


            In Washington, D.C., community leaders of the D.C. Primary Care Association plan to use the District’s tobacco settlement dollars toward decreasing the number of uninsured by expanding Medicaid eligibility to more uninsured persons, improving Medicaid enrollment and retention, strengthening the current primary care safety net through clinic improvement, and engaging local policy makers and voters in health reform efforts.


            “Health care is a local issue in terms of financing, managing, and delivering care,” says Terry Stoller, project director of Communities in Charge and a principal at Medimetrix, which is coordinating the program.  Communities in Charge gives local organizations the opportunity to develop effective, sustainable models that tailor services and financing to their particular communities.”  As a result, she says, “we expect that these communities’ programs will build leverage at the local level to ensure that their uninsured residents receive affordable and comprehensive health care, and ultimately identify a new set of tools and approaches for other communities around the country facing similar challenges.”


All 14 communities selected (see attached list) were required to have a population of at least 250,000, of which at least 37,500 or 15 percent of their populations are low-income and uninsured. The program provides these communities with financial and technical assistance to address the problems of the uninsured in several ways: by better organizing and promoting prevention and early intervention; by improving coordination and integration of services; by monitoring access and quality; and by spreading financial risk among providers.


            This is the second phase of Communities in Charge.  Phase I covered organization and planning efforts.  The purpose of these grants was to help communities better understand the extent of their uninsured problem, develop strong relationships with key players, review potential solutions, and begin to design their delivery and financing systems.  During Phase II, the 14 selected communities will implement plans to put their solutions into action.


            Communities in Charge is directed by Medimetrix, a national health care business consulting and marketing firm with offices in Cleveland and Denver.  Medimetrix will also provide specialized consulting services to the grantee communities.  For more information, please visit the Communities in Charge website at << >>.


            The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care.  It concentrates its grantmaking in three goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to basic health care at reasonable cost; to improve care and support for people with chronic health conditions; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse -- tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs.



Communities in Charge:

Financing and Delivering Health Care to the Uninsured





Coordinated Health System of Jefferson County

Birmingham, AL

Michael Griffin, Project Director,



Alameda Health Consortium

Oakland, CA

Ralph Silber, Project Director,



District of Columbia Primary Care Association

Washington, DC

Brian McNeill, Project Director,



Shands Jacksonville Medical Center

Jacksonville, FL

Bernard M. Cohen M.D., Project Director, 904-244-2175


Medcen Community Health Foundation, Inc.

Macon, GA

Ethel A. Cullinan, Project Director,



The Medical Society of Sedgwick County

Wichita, KS

Anne Nelson, Project Director,



Louisville and Jefferson County Health Department

Louisville, KY

John Morse, Interim Project Director, 502-852-2211


Portland, ME

Warren Kessler, Project Director,



Jackson Medical Mall Foundation

Jackson, MS

James Malloy, Project Director,



City of New York - Brooklyn

Brooklyn, NY

Joan Levitt, Project Director,



HealthForALL of WNY, Inc.

Buffalo, NY

Kenneth L. Oakley M.D., Project Director, 716-898-4743


Multnomah County Health Department

Portland, OR

Michael Sorenson, Project Director,



Indigent Care Collaboration

Austin, TX

Diana Resnik, Project Director,



Health Improvement Partnership of Spokane County

Spokane, WA

Daniel Baumgarten, Project Director, 509-444-3088