Message From the President & Chairman
It is with great pleasure that we share with you highlights from 2016, a year when health care was thrust back to the forefront of national and state policy discussions. Health care coverage and access have been, and continue to be, key values in Massachusetts and we proudly share these values with an extraordinary community of health care leaders, advocates, and practitioners who understand the positive impact that near-universal health coverage has had on the Commonwealth.
Given the Foundation’s important role in protecting the coverage gains we have made, we refined our strategic plan to better reflect our efforts in coverage and care, behavioral health, and social equity and health. This refocusing provides flexibility to respond to the new reality while continuing the work that is critical to our core mission.
For example, the Massachusetts Health Reform Survey – which we’ve conducted 8 times – was featured in Health Affairs, and our newer grants in social equity are showing promising results. Our major, multi-year investment in behavioral health grants and research could be a game changer for access and integration.
Meanwhile, we began working with stakeholders to coalesce around our shared goal of preserving and improving access to, and the affordability of, health care. The Foundation took the lead, along with Health Care For All, in bringing together a dedicated group – the Massachusetts Coalition for Coverage and Care – that is acting with the same sense of shared responsibility that was critical to our success in passing Chapter 58, our landmark health care law, in 2006.
Two longtime board members wrapped up their terms with us in 2016: James Hunt, Jr. and Charlotte Yeh, MD. Back in 2001, when Jim and Charlotte joined the board, we were a new foundation with big plans. We directed our energies and resources to expanding access to care and created a culture for change. Our support of individual programs changed the lives of some; our policy initiatives in health and access to care touched many. For the past 15 years, our board has kept that mission alive and relevant, and we thank them both for their strong and thoughtful leadership and dedicated service.
We also welcome two new board members Antonia McGuire, RN and Dr. Bruce Nash. Given the uncertainty in the world of health care, we are fortunate to have such an experienced group of individuals leading the Foundation’s strategy and community investments. Our mission is now more important than ever.
In 2017, our community undoubtedly will be affected by changes to the health policy landscape. Major challenges to the Affordable Care Act are already underway, and attempts to cut budgets or implement policies that may negatively affect health care access or coverage are sure to come. Because the implications are still unknown, it is crucial for us to strengthen our ties across sectors, share learnings, and sharpen our strategic thinking.
These are times that require leadership on preserving and expanding health care coverage. The Foundation embraces this challenge to be a leader in improving access to care, particularly for the most vulnerable among us.