As the Obama Administration moves forward on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the HHS Partnership Center has been working to ensure that community and faith-based organizations have up-to-date information on those efforts. Over the spring and summer, we have met with several members of religious and community groups to discuss the Affordable Care Act and to provide assistance on how the new changes will benefit their communities. This outreach included listening sessions with interfaith advocate groups, conference calls with local and national faith-based organizations, and robust question and answer dialogue with advocates from the faith community and other HHS and IRS staff.
Recently, we met with The Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) Health & Long-Term Care Workgroup. The JFNA meeting provided an opportunity to highlight the ways that HHS and our Partnership Center work with faith-based and non-profit groups on health and human services initiatives. JFNA is the nation's second largest philanthropic network. Through a network of faith-rooted hospitals, long-term care communities, and home and community-based assistance, it provides direct delivery services to neighborhoods throughout the country.
Teresa Niño from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also attended the meeting and answered questions on Medicare and long-term care issues. She referenced President Obama’s and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ visit to a health care tele-town hall at a senior center in Wheaton, Maryland as another example of the Obama Administration’s outreach on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
The group had great questions on how we can collaborate with partners like JFNA on health reform implementation. I encouraged the group to view the HHS Partnerships Center as an “open door” at HHS and discussed the Center’s initiatives on public health outreach.
As health reform implementation moves forward, I am excited about having more opportunities like this meeting with JFNA to work with them and other communities to ensure that everyone understands what health reform means for them.
Alexia Kelley serves as the Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (HHS Partnerships Center) at the Department of Health and Human Services