Health AGEnda

Making the Voices of Older Americans Heard in Health Policy

This is the last in a series of six Health AGEnda posts on the 2014 Annual Report.

This is the last in a series of six Health AGEnda posts on the 2014 Annual Report.

Editor’s Note: The John A. Hartford Foundation’s 2014 Annual Report features five profiles of Hartford Change AGEnts whose work is representative of the kinds of practice and policy change the initiative is making. Read Harnessing the Power of Hartford Change AGEnts for more on the Change AGEnts Initiative. Today, we meet Renée Markus Hodin, Carol Regan, and Gregg Warshaw, MD, of Community Catalyst, who are working to bring the perspectives of older adults and aging-expert health professionals to efforts to improve care for the vulnerable population eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. The John A. Hartford Foundation Board of Trustees recently approved a three-year, $1.5 million renewal grant to expand Community Catalyst’s work. This post concludes our special Health AGEnda series spotlighting the stories and videos of Hartford Change AGEnts profiled in the Annual Report.

As a geriatrician, Gregg Warshaw, MD, has watched with mounting frustration as older adults are bounced back and forth between nursing homes and hospitals—decisions often driven by the different financial models used by Medicare and Medicaid.

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New Grants Totaling $3.28 Million Spur Long-Term Changes in Delivery of Care to Older Adults

OlderCouple_496398699The Trustees of the John A. Hartford Foundation approved three grants totaling more than $3.28 million last week that we believe will lead to fundamental, long-term changes in the way care is delivered to older adults.

We renewed and expanded our work to ensure that the voices of older adults and aging-expert professionals are influencing debates about health care delivery through advocacy; we are supporting the development of quality measures and performance standards that support integrated, patient-centered, goal-based care that helps people to achieve their priority outcomes; and through the collaborative ReFraming Aging Initiative, we will counter the pervasive negative beliefs about aging that are barriers to improving the care of older people.

Under our Policy and Communications portfolio, the Board approved a three-year, $1.5 million renewal grant that will expand the partnership between aging-expert health care professionals and consumer advocates in the Voices for Better Health initiative. This project of Community Catalyst, a nonprofit, Boston-based health care advocacy organization, is working to ensure that integrated health plans for dually eligible Medicare/Medicaid individuals deliver high-quality care to this low-income, vulnerable population.

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Welcome to the New Cohort of Health and Aging Policy Fellows

Health-and-Aging-Policy_300While many of our legacy grant programs continue to support the development of leaders in the field of aging and health research and education (see this week’s earlier Health AGEnda post about our latest Hartford/VA social work research scholars), new and growing investments under the John A. Hartford Foundation’s current strategic plan are also nurturing leaders in aging and health practice and policy change.

As part of our Leadership in Action funding portfolio, we recently approved a $1.6 million grant to co-fund the Health and Aging Policy Fellows program, in partnership with The Atlantic Philanthropies. The program, which offers fellows the experience and skills necessary to make a positive contribution to the development and implementation of health policies that affect older Americans, has just announced its 2014-15 class and we welcome them to the Hartford family and our community of Change AGEnts.

With representatives from many of our legacy strategy programs, including the Archbold Pre-Doctoral Nursing Scholars, the Social Work Doctoral Fellows and the Jahnigen Scholars in surgical and related medical specialties, we are assured that many of our academic program alumni are right there with us in the shift to our current portfolio of strategies focused on taking geriatrics expertise and evidence and making real and lasting improvements in health care delivery for our aging population.

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Pâté for Dessert and Our Nursing Leaders

Claire Fagin, left, and adventurous dining partner Rachael Watman.

Claire Fagin, left, and adventurous dining partner Rachael Watman.

I had lunch with Claire Fagin, PhD, RN, Dean Emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, a few weeks ago. I love meeting with Claire and getting her perspective on the world of nursing, aging, and health care.

I also love eating with Claire. She is among the precious few who will split foie gras with me for dessert. She is always game and thinks outside the plate.

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New Grants Target Policy and Practice Change

One of the Hartford Foundation's new grants will support an additional 44 Health and Policy Fellows over the next three years who will bring geriatric expertise to policymakers and in turn receive intensive training in policymaking through placements at key agencies and offices in the federal government.

One of the Hartford Foundation’s new grants will support an additional 44 Health and Policy Fellows over the next three years.

While the two new grants approved by the John A. Hartford Foundation Board of Trustees last week continue to move us forward in our new strategic direction, which includes a focus on health policy and practice change, they also build on partnerships and successful work we have engaged in for years.

The grants totaling $2.13 million will support an additional 44 Health and Aging Policy Fellows (HAPF) over the next three years and help co-support a new Institute of Medicine (IOM) study on family caregiving of older adults. Both projects also offer great opportunities for our new Hartford Change AGEnts to bring their talents, expertise, and skills to bear on important issues related to creating policy and practice change that improves the health of older Americans.

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New Grants to Expand Palliative Care and Engage Philanthropy in Aging Issues

We are pleased to announce two new grants approved this month by our Board of Trustees.

Diane E. Meier, MD

Diane E. Meier, MD

First, under our Models of Care portfolio, we renewed our support for the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), a pioneering organization led by a pioneering woman, Diane Meier, MD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on relieving the symptoms, pain, and stress of serious illness, which is critically important for the older adult population. While often confused with being only about end-of-life and hospice care, palliative care provides the extra layer of support needed by people and their families dealing with serious illness at any point in their lives. Palliative care principles and practices can also help organizations achieve both better quality and financial viability.

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Fellowship Offers Opportunity to Hone Policymaking Skills

Health-and-Aging-Policy_300“The Health and Aging Policy Fellowship gave me access to national health policy leaders that I continue to work with to make a greater impact in promoting the health of vulnerable older adults.”

This is what Adriana Perez, one of the 2012 Health and Aging Policy Fellows (HAPF), recently told me regarding her Fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control.

Adriana, an alumna of our Hartford geriatric nursing post-doc fellowship, told me that among the numerous benefits she derived from the program, “I also had the opportunity to build my own interprofessional network with diverse fellows at all stages of career trajectories—who are all passionate about gerontological health.”

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Raise Your Voices for Better Health

Click photo to watch the Community Catalyst video.

Click photo to watch the Community Catalyst video.

You would think having both Medicare and Medicaid would mean getting more of the benefits and services you need.

But for the 10 million people who receive health care coverage under both systems—who are poor and mostly older adults with complex health and social needs—it’s far too easy to fall between the cracks of these good programs. They are structured differently, have different rules, and often lead to a complicated maze of services and providers.

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Call for Applications to the Practice Change Leaders

Banksy_change300

Graffitti by the street artist Banksy.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead

Our mission at the John A. Hartford Foundation is to change the health of older Americans for the better. And despite the national investment in health care and the excitement of research, I don’t think we are alone in seeing this as a long, slow road.

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New Nurse Fellowship Will Help Prepare Gero-Focused Policy Leaders

Elena O. Siegel, an assistant professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at University of California-Davis and a 2011 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar, is a fine example of the kind of nurse leaders the new fellowship hopes to create. Siegel is a former Claire M. Fagin Postdoctoral Fellow, funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity program and Atlantic Philanthropies.

Elena O. Siegel, an assistant professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at University of California-Davis and a 2011 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar, is a fine example of the kind of nurse leaders the new fellowship hopes to create. Siegel is a former Claire M. Fagin Postdoctoral Fellow, funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity program and Atlantic Philanthropies.

With the memory of the greeting card and chocolate-fueled Valentine’s Day in our rear view mirror, we would like to honor the part of the holiday that focuses on relationships by announcing a new partnership.

The Gerontological Society of America’s National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence has joined with The Atlantic Philanthropies’ Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program to create a fellowship for nursing professionals to gain the experience and skills necessary to develop and implement health policies that affect our aging society.

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