The City of Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) and the King County Public Health Department are jointly awarding $7 million for public health investments that will assist local residents in accessing medical and dental services. The awards are being made after the completion of the Community Health Partnerships Request for Application (RFA) competitive bidding process by Public Health-Seattle & King County (PHSKC) for health-related safety net organizations and community-based organizations. The investments aim to improve the health outcomes for vulnerable populations, support uninsured and low-income uninsured Seattle residents, strengthen the health safety-net system by improving cooperation and cohesion among agencies, and increase health equity.
“Investing in these health safety net organizations and working in partnership with them will improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations and address health disparities. Public Health is honored to oversee the Community Health Partnership program,” said Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health-Seattle & King County.
This process was comprised of two separate RFA applications, one for Access Only Services and one for Medical or Medical/ Dental Services.
A total of six organizations will receive funding for Access and Enrollment Services to help people enroll in health insurance and access health services. These are:
- Center for Multicultural Health—$111,600
- Chinese Information and Service Center—$ 68,850
- Project Access Northwest—$ 50,000
- Recovery Café—$ 40,000
- Within Reach—$ 64,000
- YWCA—$ 103,000
Seven organizations will receive funding for Medical, Dental and Access Services. These are:
- Country Doctor Community Health Centers—$ 1,132,457
- Harborview Medical Center Downtown Programs and Pioneer Square Clinic—$ 307,408
- International Community Health Services—$ 512,583
- Neighborcare Health—$ 3,004,839
- Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic—$ 111,483
- Sea Mar Community Health Centers—$ 573,044
- Seattle Indian Health Board—$ 276,378
“Promoting strong Public Health services cannot happen using a one-size fits all approach. Instead, these important health services must be person centered, culturally relevant, and reflect the unique needs of people in our community.” said Catherine Lester, Human Services Department Director. “This investment process allows the City and Public Health to partner together, and with health and social service providers, to ensure that people in Seattle experience optimum health.”
Funding for Access and Enrollment Services is made available from the City of Seattle General Fund ($292,027) and from King County ($145,423). Medical, Dental and Access Services funds from the City of Seattle General Fund total $6,493,074. PHSKC also will receive funding to oversee these investments as well as $574,882 in funding to provide medical and dental services directly.
The funding criteria used by PHSKC were updated this year to reflect changes in the healthcare environment as a result of the Affordable Care Act and healthcare reform. The funding also better aligns with state and local initiatives that impact the health safety net, such as: Healthier Washington, King County Health and Human Services Transformation Plan, King County Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force Recommendations, and Seattle and King County State of Emergency (in response to homelessness).
The RFA was driven through the lens of both the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) and the King County Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan. Applicants were required to provide their approach to promoting equity and social justice in health care services for Seattle residents, addressing the unique needs of specific populations including: people of color; people experiencing homelessness; immigrants and refugees; people with limited English proficiency; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) people; uninsured people; and people living in poverty (insured and uninsured). Medical applicants were also required to address specific chronic health issues disproportionately impacting communities of color (specifically Black/African American and American Indian/Alaska Native populations), as well as a health condition targeting a portion of the population they serve. Applicants selected demonstrated the ability to also provide services that link their patients with community-based organizations, institutions, and resources in the communities they serve.
Oversight for this investment area is provided by the City of Seattle Human Services Department, while implementation of this investment area is managed by Public Health-Seattle & King County.