RD24 - Review of Local Health Partnership Authorities

Executive Summary:

House Bill 2060 (2001 General Assembly Session) amended Code of Virginia Title 32.1 Chapter 4 by adding Article 6.1 (§§ 32.1-122.10.001 through 32.1-122.10:005). The provisions of Article 6.1 effectuate the following:

• Authorizes single or multi-jurisdictional health care partnership authorities to allow government and private entities to join forces to address the health care needs of an area:

* Pilot project in Planning District 8 established
* Required evaluation of the pilot project by JCHC by November 2002;
• Provides basic outline for the local authority with provisions for membership, board of directors, meeting and voting requirements, and outline of powers and duties;
• Requires approval by each participating locality;
• Allows for disclosure of medical records;
• Protects volunteers from civil liability for noninvasive or minimally invasive procedures; and
• Includes sunset provision for July I, 2003.

A copy of HB 2060 as adopted is included in Appendix A. The pilot project, the Prince William Health Partnership Authority (PWHPA), is an outgrowth of the Turning Point Program. Turning Point was a national program initiated in 1997 by W.K. Kellogg and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations. Under the auspices of Turning Point, Prince William completed a community health assessment that indicated the need for improvements in the delivery of health care services to address duplication, inefficiency, and gaps in health care services. A multijurisdictional "Health Authority" was proposed in collaboration with local public officials and HB 2060 was introduced and enacted during 2001.

As a local health partnership authority, PWHPA does not expect to rely on state or local funding to support its operations:

• Operations have been supported by the two area hospitals;
• A non-stock corporation known as Prince William Partners, Inc. was recently established
* 501(c)3 status to be a holding company;
• Future financial support is expected to come from grants, corporate contributions, fundraising and donations
* Grants have not been aggressively pursued nor have fundraising events been scheduled due to the sunset date on PWHPA's authorizing legislation.

The mission of PWHPA is "to develop and assist partnerships among the public and community non-profit providers. We will assist in planning, sharing resources, reducing barriers and implementing strategies to address the health care needs and improve the quality and availability of health care in the Prince William area."

PWHPA will focus on two community health issues in the next few years:

• Waist Management - programs and educational activities to curb obesity and reduce the number of area residents who are overweight; and
• Healthy Children for a Healthy Future - programs to promote overall health and wellness in children.

Evaluation of PWHPA Considering PWHPA's stage of development, no assessment could be made of the Authority's ability to secure funding or to carry out programs. PWHPA has strong support from local officials and organizations but the sunset date of July 2003 has been a significant barrier to initiating programs.

It is difficult at this juncture to make any judgments regarding the advisability of allowing additional local heath partnership authorities on a permanent basis.

Actions Taken by JCHC

A number of policy options were offered by the Joint Commission on Health Care regarding the issues discussed in this report. These policy options are listed on page 27. A summary of the public comments received regarding the proposed Options are included in Appendix B.

JCHC took the following actions with regard to the study Options:

• Approved Option II to introduce legislation to extend the sunset date from July I, 2003 to July I, 2006.
• Amended and approved Option IV to introduce legislation to require annual reports to the Joint Commission.