November 3, 2020

Colorado safety net clinics receive healthy dose of support

Kaiser Permanente commits $300,000 to increase COVID-19 testing capacity and help financially strained safety net providers.

Kaiser Permanente, the state’s largest nonprofit health plan, announced an additional $300,000 contribution to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund. These funds are earmarked to assist local safety net clinics across Colorado, giving much-needed financial support to institutions that provide medical care for under-resourced community members.

Safety net clinics offer medical, dental, and behavioral health care to people who have low incomes, are uninsured or underinsured, or are enrolled in publicly funded health insurance programs, regardless of their ability to pay. The pandemic has caused hundreds of thousands of Coloradans to lose their jobs and, potentially, their ability to afford medical services.

“COVID-19 has put additional strains on already under-resourced safety nets across our state and these clinics are anticipating a historic influx of community members in need,” said Mike Ramseier, regional president for Kaiser Permanente in Colorado. “We’re proud to contribute to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund in an effort to help these safety nets provide more services, retain staff, and expand COVID-19 testing capabilities to Coloradans in need.”

"This contribution from Kaiser Permanente is an outstanding example of the generosity Coloradans have shown each other during the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will help support vulnerable Coloradans during this challenging time via these critical safety net clinics," said Gov. Jared Polis.

This latest $300,000 commitment brings Kaiser Permanente’s total contribution to the state’s COVID Relief Fund to $800,000. Recently, Kaiser Permanente announced a $500,000 commitment for the state’s relief fund, $300,000 of which was specifically for the expansion of contact tracing for all those who test positive for COVID-19 through the state’s testing sites. The additional $200,000 for that relief fund came from Kaiser Permanente’s employee donation matching campaign, which ended September 2020.

The Colorado COVID Relief Fund is a partnership with the State of Colorado, Mile High United Way, and the Colorado Health Foundation to help Colorado recover from the economic and social impacts of COVID-19. Specific to the coronavirus pandemic, Mile High United Way is the statewide first-line response for all human service needs as they relate to COVID-19, operating the 2-1-1 Help Center with navigation services to community support.

“At the height of the pandemic, Mile High United Way’s 2-1-1 Help Center call volume tripled,” said Christine Benero, president and chief executive officer of Mile High United Way. “There is still tremendous need in our community, and we are grateful for Kaiser Permanente’s leadership in ensuring Coloradans have access to support.”

Through 6 rounds of funding, the Colorado COVID Relief Fund has provided support to more than 800 nonprofit organizations, totaling nearly $20 million.

Eligible organizations can apply at beginning November 2020.