Our Targeted Portfolio, will create visible and measurable improvements in Missouri through 5-10 year financial and staff investments on four key health issues facing our state. Through discipline and focus on a select number of health issues, MFH can have greater impact on: preventing childhood obesity, expanding access to health insurance coverage, improving oral health and reducing infant mortality.
Childhood Obesity Prevention
Missouri is one of the heaviest states in the country, with 30% of the total population and 31% of children ages 10 to 17 overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is a strong predictor of adult obesity and is associated with increased risk of a variety of chronic disease like diabetes. In aggregate, obesity has been estimated to decrease lifespan by an average of 2-5 years, and leads to significant economic costs to individuals and to the state.
In 2013, MFH established a five year initiative called Healthy Schools Healthy Communities to address childhood obesity in our region. Healthy Schools Healthy Communities seeks to reduce childhood obesity through prevention efforts in selected communities in the MFH region.
The Foundation will use three primary approaches to achieve the above outcomes:
Schools As The Hub
Statewide Focus and Collaboration (policy approach)
Roughly 792,000 Missouri residents under age 65 (15.6% of the population) are currently without health insurance, ranking Missouri 25th in terms of the percentage of people that are uninsured. Missourians without insurance are more likely to go without preventive care, to delay or forgo medical care, and to die prematurely.
Uninsured Missourians have new opportunities to access quality, affordable health insurance through the Missouri health insurance marketplace or exchange beginning January 1, 2014 with enrollment starting in October 2013. Effectively assisting the uninsured to understand and take advantage of this new opportunity requires three key and interconnected strategies: engaging consumers and creating awareness; facilitating enrollment; and educating people on how to make the best use of their health insurance coverage.
Missouri Foundation for Health has implemented its Expanding Coverage initiative through the formation of the Cover Missouri Coalition and the Expanding Coverage Through Consumer Assistance grant program. The Cover Missouri Coalition is a statewide group of organizations and associations committed to reducing the percentage of uninsured Missourians to less than five percent in the next five years. To reach this goal, the Coalition is collaborating on approaches to conduct outreach and education activities, provide assistance with enrollment via the Missouri health insurance marketplace, increase health insurance literacy, and support Medicaid transformation. More information is available by contacting Ryan Barker, Vice President of Health Policy and Director of the Expanding Coverage initiative.
For 2013, the Expanding Coverage Through Consumer Assistance program provided grants to 17 organizations located in and serving the Missouri Foundation for Health funding area to assist consumers with enrollment into the Missouri health insurance marketplace. MFH was particularly interested in organizations serving individuals who have difficulty enrolling in health insurance without the help of one-on-one assistance.
Infant mortality is a significant indicator of overall population health and quality of care. Currently, Missouri ranks 33rd in the United States with an infant mortality rate of 7.4 deaths per 1,000 live births—about 600 deaths per year. Missouri's poor statewide outcomes are driven by a high incidence of infant death in low-income and minority populations that are geographically concentrated in the Bootheel and St. Louis.
There is an emerging consensus in the field that effective infant mortality reduction requires comprehensive, integrated services that fully support mothers and infants. These services require frequent and diverse touch points with families to provide the necessary education and care before, during and after pregnancy.
Oral Health is a vital aspect of overall health. Missourians face many challenges regarding oral health including low utilization of care, lack of treatment, and poor overall outcomes.
Only 64% of the state received any sort of oral health care last year as compared to 70% in the country. Poor oral health correlates with other serious illnesses, including diabetes, heart and lung disease, stroke, low-birth weight, and premature births.
Though the field has many players, governmental and organizational leadership is emerging to combat this fragmentation and coordinate services in the state but few have the financial flexibility coupled with financial resources of foundations. Recent research commissioned by MFH and the work of leading oral health-focused organizations illustrate convergence around approaches to improving oral health.
MFH has the opportunity to increase the capacity of organizations to meet the oral health needs in their communities, increase availability of oral health care providers and pursue policy objectives that would lead to better oral health care.