May 19, 2011
Jennifer Sykes

TOPEKA, KANSAS – Five health philanthropies that fund health programs and initiatives in the state of Kansas this week announced the formation of a $450,000 fund to help Kansas organizations carry out activities that support implementation of the federal health reform law. The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, the Kansas Health Foundation, the REACH Healthcare Foundation, the Sunflower Foundation and the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund established the fund to assist state agencies and nonprofit organizations with planning, research, consumer engagement and other activities related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act Opportunity Fund (ACA Fund) was modeled on funding pools philanthropies have created in other states to help their states maximize federal grant and technical assistance opportunities connected with health reform.

“Our goal in setting up this fund is to ensure that Kansas and its citizens are well positioned to take advantage of federal programs, technical assistance and grants that are becoming available as part of federal implementation of health reform,” said Brenda Sharpe, President and CEO of the REACH Healthcare Foundation. “It is our intent that Kansans receive the full benefit of opportunities related to the law.”

Beginning in June, organizations can apply through the Topeka Community Foundation for grants of $5,000 to $30,000. To be eligible, applicants must be operating in Kansas for the benefit of Kansans. Eligible organizations include:

· State agencies and collaborations of agencies serving Kansas.
· Regional collaborations of organizations with an appropriate fiscal agent (governmental or 50l(c)(3) organization).
· 501(c)(3) organizations.
· Local governmental entities (cities, counties, school districts, public health departments and public hospitals).

Organizations may apply for financial assistance to support legal, actuarial and policy research and activities; preparing federal grant applications; matching funds for grants; and efforts to engage consumers and other stakeholders in health reform implementation. Other funding opportunities may include participation in regional and national conferences related to health reform and public education on provisions of the law. Grants cannot be used to support indirect expenses of state agencies, nonprofit organizations or collaborative efforts.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is a federal statute that was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Along with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (signed into law on March 30, 2010), the law is intended to put in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will roll out over four years and beyond, with most changes taking place by 2014. The law requires state action in many areas, including developing new state laws, regulations and structures to carry out health reform requirements. The law also offers opportunities for health system changes at local and regional levels.

ACA Fund applications will be accepted on a continuous basis through December 2011. Information on the ACA Fund and application forms will be available June 1 on the Topeka Community Foundation web site (www.topekacommunityfoundation.org).