of WNY, INC.
for HealthforAll: To expand access to quality healthcare for the
uninsured through community partnerships.
was established in 1999 to address the growing concerns for the uninsured in
Western New York by connecting corporations, small businesses, providers,
insurers, community agencies and individuals to deal directly with the
issue. HealthforAll has created a strong foundation for providing
realistic options for the uninsured. Building on these solutions and
continuing to implement new ones, HealthforAll's vision is a viable answer for
each of the over 200,000 uninsured in the region.
myriad of programs, services, and health insurance options available for the
un/underinsured is impressive yet are many times inaccessible or unknown.
HealthforAll is advancing the Western New York Community towards eliminating
barriers that prevent uninsured and underinsured people from making the most of
what is available and filling gaps where they exist.
success demands continued, productive relationships among every facet of the
community, business, consumers, government, healthcare, non-profit, and
community-based organizations. To maintain and expand solutions
implemented in conjunction with these key partners, HealthforAll requires
ongoing community support to maintain HealthforAll New York Subsidy Program WNY
Helpnet.org (helpnet) and Voice of the Uninsured.
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Healthy NY Insurance Subsidy Program (Subsidy Program)
New York, over 90% of small businesses with 10 or fewer employees do not offer
health insurance. Healthy New York is the New York State sponsored
insurance program designed to make reduced cost, comprehensive health insurance
available to small businesses that currently do not provide coverage to their
employees and is offered in Western New York Community Blue Independent Health
and Univera Healthcare.
Subsidy Program pays up to one-third of the Healthy NY premium, leveraging at
least two additional dollars in premium from the employer to employee. To
qualify for the Subsidy Program businesses must:
for Healthy NY including not offering or contributing to employee coverage
for at least the past twelve months
located in one of the eight Western New York counties - Allegany, Cattaraugus,
Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming
least two and no more than ten employees eligible for Healthy NY.
using grant funding, HealthforAll guarantees premium support for twelve months
to Western New York small businesses enrolling their employees in Healthy
NY. The children of these employees are directed to Child Health Plus to
maximize use of subsidy dollars. The program will result in over 2,500
newly insured Western New York residents based on currently available funding
and will promote enrollment into Child Health Plus when possible. Capacity
is limited only by the availability of supporting funds.
(helpnet) makes electronically accessible a comprehensive online database of
6,000+ existing Western New York services and programs available to the
underserved of every county. Expert call center staff further assists
uninsured individuals and small businesses navigate the myriad of available
options to find health coverage solutions tailored to their specific needs.
of the Uninsured
compiles data and other significant information about the uninsured as the
foundation for informing community leaders, catalyzing change and advocating
solutions for the uninsured in a impartial manner.
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Financing & Outreach Strategies
sustain the organizations efforts financially, HealthforAll's business plan
requires ongoing contributions from every member of the community.
Implicit in this requirement is understanding that the uninsured impact every
aspect of the community and no member of the community can be exempt from
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Accomplishments to Date
HealthforAll combines its
planned demonstration project, now known as the Subsidy Program, with the
opportunity afforded by Healthy New York. In partnership with the local
HMOs offering Healthy New York, HealthforAll developed a program of premium
subsidy for Western New York small businesses with between two and ten
employees. In addition to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant,
initial operational funding also came from the John R Oishei and Gebbie
Foundations and a portion of the CAP grant described below. The Subsidy
Program began in March 2003.
In March 2001,
HealthforAll applied for and received a federal Health Resource and Service
Administration (HRSA) Community Access Program (CAP) Grant, which was renewed
for a second year in September 2002. The grant allowed the development and
rollout of www.helpnet.org and supported
some infrastructure development for the Subsidy Program. Helpnet is the
first comprehensive, region wide on-line directory of Western New York Health
and Human Services including provider-based free and sliding fee scale services
and low cost health insurance programs. Beginning in September 2002,
HealthforAll launched a regional education campaign with the goal of increasing
professional use of the helpnet as a singular tool to reduce barriers to care
for the uninsured and underinsured in Western New York.
Committed to developing a
database on the uninsured and the community impact of uninsured issues,
HealthforAll will repeat in 2003 the survey of Western New York insured and
uninsured populations that was initially done in 1999. Together with
information from the Subsidy Program, helpnet user information and focus groups
of the uninsured, the periodic Western New York survey will provide the valuable
information on the health status of the uninsured and help develop and refine
strategies to address this population. HealthforAll plans to regularly
communicate this data to businesses, government and the public to keep them
apprised of the issues faced by the uninsured and the impact on the
community. HealthforAll has established itself as the singular
organization in Western New York addressing the issue of the uninsured in eight
Several individuals hired as permanent HealthforAll staff did not successfully
complete their probationary periods. This was despite the expert
assistance from Medimetrix, Board Members and other consultants in formulating a
personnel plan, creating job descriptions and interviewing candidates.
After reviewing the situation these two individuals did not have some of the
skills and abilities that appear to be critical factors in the success of other
staff and the skills/abilities to work independtly with minimal structure
and supervision, a willingness to adapt and alter strategies as the environment
changes, and the experience to recognize that a new organization with few
employees requires constant flexibility and an entrepreneurial spirit. In
the future, these qualities will be sought after more aggressively when staff is
Recruiting for positions
more than once diverted resources to a smaller degree. Cultivating
corporate partnerships was delayed for several months due to the loss of the
initial Marketing and Development Manager. Grantees in similar situations
should carefully consider skills and abilities mentioned above when forming a
team for a new organization. The National Program Office (Medimetrix) has
been invaluable in helping with a personnel plan and job descriptions.
Board of Directors:
In May 2001, HealthforAll held a day long retreat to address the roles and
responsibilities of Board Members. Feedback from the Directors indicated
this was an extremely useful experience and met the objectives of clearly
defining the Board's functions as a governing body. An analysis of the
attributes of Board Directors revealed gaps in terms of the various types of
community representation and influence needed to move the program forward.
A letter from Terry Stoller of the National Program Office to the Board
President provided expert guidance and prompted the Board to recruit and appoint
new members to include prominent local business leaders. These new Board
Members have been invaluable in meeting the objectives by the Board assessment
and reinforced by the National Program Office.
September 11, 2001:
New York's fiscal crisis dramatically changed the government's priority of
addressing the working uninsured problem. Additionally, the state did not
pass a 2001 budget until October 24, 2001 leaving a number of questions
unanswered regarding the availability of HRSA funds for Healthy WNY premium
subsidization startups. Locally, WNY continues to confront potential
bankruptcy of its major metropolitan center, the City of Buffalo, and the
likelihood of entering receivership under the State. The extensive WNY
healthcare system, already severely stressed before September 11th continues to
experience an exodus of physicians, oversupply of hospital beds, and a shortage
of allied health professionals.
Low Enrollment in
Healthy New York: HealthforAll continues to leverage the lack of
success experienced by Healthy New York in its first year of operation as an
opportunity to become the State's demonstration project for refinement and
improvements. At the end of 2001, there was a clear resurgence of interest
in HealthforAll and discussions after 9/11 regarding HealthforAll's role in
making Healthy New York work.
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Interim Executive Director
Health For All of WNY, Inc.
2495 Main Street, Suite 310
Buffalo, NY 14215
Phone: (716) 837-8400 ext 104
Fax: (716) 837-8300
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