Kaiser Permanente will provide more than $40 million in grants to community-based organizations in the coming months. Many of those grants will help ensure access to health care for those most in need.
“We are a mission-based nonprofit that believes everyone has the right to good health,” said Cynthia Telles, PhD, Community Health Committee chair for the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals Boards of Directors. “We believe everyone should have access to affordable health care and we support our community members obtaining the care they need when they need it.”
Project Access NOW, or PANOW, one of the grant recipients, provides access to donated health care, enrollment in health care coverage options, and access to free or low-cost medications throughout the Portland, Oregon, area. The program also coordinates and negotiates care across different programs and providers, so recipients can apply for multiple health care assistance programs in one place. In 2018, PANOW provided:
“We don’t get anything done without partnership and Kaiser Permanente is one of our original partners,” said Linda Nilsen, PANOW’s executive director.
One person who benefited from PANOW arrived at an emergency room with uncontrolled diabetes. His wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and they couldn’t afford health care coverage, doctor’s appointments, or medications.
“Even a $25 copay was a huge barrier for them,” Nilsen said. “We identified that the entire family should go into Kaiser Permanente’s primary care program, so their care could be completely free and have no costs for medications. They said the program was a tremendous blessing for their family.”
The Kaiser Permanente grants also include funding for:
“I’m proud of our work to improve access to care in our communities, “said Bechara Choucair, MD, Kaiser Permanente’s chief community health officer. “Our goal is to provide support where the needs and opportunities for impact are the greatest.”
Quarterly grants such as these are part of the contributions Kaiser Permanente makes each year to improve community health. Kaiser Permanente also serves the community through a range of programs including Medicaid, charitable health coverage, medical financial assistance, and medical research. In 2018, Kaiser Permanente dedicated nearly $2.8 billion to improve health and wellness in communities across the country.