Foundations Combine Forces to Improve Health Care, Reduce Costs

A coalition of five national health foundations has announced the launch of a collaboration aimed at transforming care delivery for chronically ill patients with the greatest need.

In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, leaders of the Commonwealth Fund, the Peterson Center on Healthcare, and the John A. Hartford, Scan, and Robert Wood Johnson foundations said their organizations would contribute resources in an effort to meet three urgent goals: help health system leaders and other stakeholders develop a deep understanding of the population of chronically ill patients and their needs; identify effective ways to deliver higher-quality, integrated care at a lower cost to that population; and accelerate the spread of those approaches across the country. In their article, the foundation leaders argued that their target population merits heightened attention both because it has complex and costly health and social care needs and because it is disproportionately affected by poor quality care. What's more, the need is urgent, they argue, because the number of such patients, many of them older adults, is growing.

"We need to do more to help people with complex health and social needs be as healthy as possible," said RWJF senior vice president John Lumpkin. "Clinical encounters alone will not help people be healthier, unless we address the challenges where they live, work, play, and pray, and that will take a community-wide commitment to wellness by all sectors of society."