The Washington Health Foundation (WHF) has a rich history of innovative programs and projects that changed the lives of people and the futures of communities across our state. Whether through direct service programs, policy development, engagement strategies, education, research or the more than 14 million dollars WHF awarded in grants over the past 20 years – the Foundation has designed, developed and implemented more than 160 projects to improve people’s health. We don’t just talk about change – we drive it. And have been doing so since 1992. You may be surprised to know of the some of the programs we established. Below are just a few examples.
The Washington Health Foundation has served more than 100,000 individuals and families through direct service aimed at solving health problems over the past 20 years. To put that into perspective - that's enough people to fill Safeco Field several times over. WHF accomplished this through a variety of distinct program efforts including the Community Health Access Program (CHAP), AIDS/HIV Care Access Project, and now the Healthiest State xChange. In an era where so many individuals and families feel- and are- left out of the health system, the Foundation has chosen not to just tell people how to get healthier, but reached out to actively help them do so.
What’s more, the Foundation has tried to shift the conventional approach of direct service to the innovative notion that this should be a starting point to empower people to become healthier over the longer term, not just deal with one immediate health care problem. The best example of this has been our xChange, which doesn’t just sign people up for health coverage but actually helps them use their coverage and form “Health Homes”.
It has always been our intent to advance our mission and vision by stimulating local action, not by taking credit for our accomplishments. History frequently forgets who was really responsible for achievements, and that is just fine. Many no doubt continue to think that the programs we managed were “government programs”, or outreach efforts for providers or other sponsors. But the emerging success of our xChange shows the importance of an approach that isn’t about government and the providers as much as it about creating a health relationship with people that can move beyond the one time superficial link into a long term relationship for better health. Unfortunately, governments show little interest in this as they spend millions to create new “transactional” health care exchanges, nor are health providers or insurers rushing to truly empower people. Changing these things would do much to stimulate progress toward our goal of making Washington the Healthiest State in the Nation.