Health Care and Nonprofits

Board shuts down Alliance for Health

May 21, 2015
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Alliance for Health names Paul Brand EVP
Paul Brand. Courtesy Alliance for Health

After failing to find alternative funding options despite embarking on a new strategic plan, a community health coalition’s board of directors voted last night to cease operations.

The Alliance for Health, or AFH, a community coalition working to reduce health care costs in the region, announced today the board of directors has voted to cease operations and to revoke the authority of the Evaluation Board, an independent body conducting the Certificate of Need, or CON, review for the region.

The vote

The decision to cease operations is effective “as soon as can be accomplished in an orderly fashion,” and AFH is notifying the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Certificate of Need Commission of the vote, according to a statement issued this morning.

Donald Hall, board chairman of the alliance, said on behalf of the board of directors, the decision was reached with regret.

“We have exhausted every avenue of exploration to continue operations,” Hall said. “To our members and to the businesses and organizations that supported the Alliance for Health for nearly 50 years, we say thank you for your engagement in helping to improve the health of the community we have served.”

Paul Brand, AFH president and CEO, and Hall indicated in a May 21 letter to members the decision followed “more than 15 months of strategic review and consideration of the continued value and viability of the Alliance for Health as a health planning and regulatory agency.”

Funding

Brand said grant funding has expired, and the organization’s uncertain circumstances made it difficult to seek and raise philanthropic support to sustain AFH.

“As part of this review, we had interviewed dozens of our members and business and community leaders about the current and future role of the Alliance for Health,” Brand said. “Times have changed in the health care environment that affect reimbursement and regulation. There is insufficient interest to sustain our continued operation as currently constructed.”

As a nonprofit organization, Alliance for Health received funding largely from charitable gifts, donations and grants. One of its major grants was from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for an initiative launched in 2007 and was considered active through April 30, 2015.

The organization also applied for Michigan’s State Innovation Model as a pilot for the Community Health Innovation Region to provide financial and technical support to states developing and testing a state led, multi-payer health care payment and service delivery model, according to a Feb. 5 letter to stakeholders.

Discontinued programs

As the organization ceases operations, Brand said there will no longer be an agency in the region authorized to conduct CON review processes, and the board “affirms its belief in the importance of continuing Certificate of Need review throughout the state.”

The CON Evaluation Board recently had limited its evaluation to health care projects exceeding $10 million.

Several other local community organizations have expressed interest in the continuation of other Alliance for Health programs, such as the First Friday Forums and the Learning Leaders for Health and Nutrition, according to the announcement.

Jim Haveman, former director of the Michigan Department of Community Health, said he applauds the Alliance for Health for making the difficult decision to cease operations rather than hold on.

“I congratulate the Alliance for Health for being one of the few organizations I know to assess its future, recognize the change in the times and vote to go out of business, instead of trying to hang on,” Haveman said. “Now, let’s see what the next phase brings. I would like to thank the past directors and board members for the extraordinary health systems we have in West Michigan.”

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