Milwaukee Health Systems Pool $1.9 Million to Improve Care for the Underserved in 2016

Shared Community Investment Fund Marks Ten Years of Collaborative Funding

The five health system members of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership recently announced today, the recipients of $1.9 million in funding to help improve access to health care for low-income Milwaukee County residents. This collaborative funding pool is in addition to each health system’s annual community benefit investments.

Since 2007, Milwaukee’s health systems, Aurora Health Care, Children’s Hospital and Health System, Columbia St. Mary’s, Froedtert Health, and Wheaton Franciscan Health Care have supported a Shared Community Investment Fund through the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, a public/private consortium dedicated to improving health care for underserved populations in Milwaukee County. This recent contribution marks ten years of collaborative funding to community partners, totaling $23.5 million.

Cathy Jacobson, Froedtert Health CEO and Partnership board chair noted, “Through the Partnership, Milwaukee’s health systems work together to secure health insurance coverage, improve access to health care services, and enhance care coordination for the most vulnerable in our community. Our shared community investments are aligned with the Partnership’s strategic priorities, and our commitment to avoid fragmented efforts.”

Much of the health systems’ collaborative funding has benefitted Milwaukee’s federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), which primarily serve low-income populations. “FQHCs play a critical role in providing primary care, behavioral health, and dental care for families with limited access to care,” says Jenni Sevenich, Progressive Community Health Center’s CEO. “Support from the health systems strengthens our ability to recruit providers, expand our facilities, enhance our scope of services, and improve the quality of care. Their funding is more than a shared investment; it reflects a shared commitment to community-based health care in underserved neighborhoods.”

In addition to significant funding to FQHCs to help care for uninsured and underinsured residents, the Shared Community Investment Fund has helped support care coordination programs for patients served at other safety net clinics, and has fueled a number of initiatives to reach out and enroll those who are eligible for Medicaid or Marketplace coverage.

Expanding access to mental health and substance abuse services for low-income individuals has been a high priority for the Partnership in recent years. In 2016, the Shared Community Investment Fund directs $740,000 to increase community-based behavioral health services, including a grant to the Whole Heath Clinic, a new outpatient clinic integrating primary and behavioral health care for patients with serious mental illnesses.

2016 Shared Community Investments Fund priorities and beneficiaries are: