Community Benefit & Economic Stability Project

Financial security is an important social determinant of health, which makes it particularly perverse that the medical system itself is frequently a contributor to the financial fragility of families. Hospitals are important anchors in their communities, but frequently their financial assistance and billing/collection policies exacerbate existing inequities. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Community Catalyst intends to leverage federal non-profit hospital community benefit requirements to promote policies that better serve communities and do no financial harm. 

The problem of unaffordable health care and medical debt affects all. We know that it is an even greater burden for people of color and other excluded populations. While insurance coverage is not a guarantee of avoiding large medical bills, those without coverage are definitely more at risk (Check out our infographic). Twenty-eight million Americans had no health insurance prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a disproportionate share of people of color who face discriminatory barriers to health and economic security. It is therefore critical that we approach this work through a racial justice and health equity lens. 

The Community Benefit & Economic Stability Initiative is providing grants and technical assistance to organizations in three states, Georgia, Illinois and New Mexico. Funding is being provided to a statewide group, as well as organizations working locally to advance racial and health justice in each state. Through this project, we endeavor to strengthen consumer health advocacy capacity to promote economic justice policy proposals which may occur at the local, state or federal level. We will support grantees efforts to design community-driven policies and effective campaigns that increase awareness and buy-in among hospitals and other health care stakeholders on the need for policies and practices that are fair, transparent and respond to community need.

Click here for more information about the project. 

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