The Health Working Group (HWG) recently met with Gregg Pane, M.D., Director of the D.C. Department of Health, and Stephen Baron, Director of the D.C. Department of Mental Health, for updates on their departments’ priorities, emerging issues, and opportunities for collaboration. Both Pane and Baron expressed interest in finding ways to work more closely with Washington Grantmakers.
The Department of Health recently reorganized to bring programs into better alignment and improve accountability. Under the restructuring, prevention, primary care, maternal, child, and family health are now under one administration, as are functions related to licensing and regulation. Other topics discussed included the need for better health data, progress being made in holding contractors accountable, the quality of care measures being required of Medicaid-managed care organizations, efforts to address chronic disease, and the growing issue of services to the elderly. Dr. Pane also provided an update on the Department’s progress in addressing problems with the HIV/AIDS Administration.
Mr. Baron explained that the Department of Mental Health will continue to focus on a series of issues related to reimbursement (both recovering funds from Medicaid and providing faster reimbursement to local service providers), crisis services, access, and affordable housing for people with mental illness. Baron is setting up a number of planning and advisory groups and would welcome grantmaker participation.
The HWG and Washington AIDS Partnership (a project of Washington Grantmakers) will be following up with both Pane and Baron. Grantmakers interested in learning more or becoming involved should contact Margaret O’Bryon, Consumer Health Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org or Mardell Moffett, The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, email@example.com.