Health Care Reform


Implement Change: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not a revolutionary change to the American health care system.  It is, however, unprecedented given the many reforms underway on ways to pay, provide coverage, and deliver care. Read below to learn how Public Ink helped multiple organizations win over $360 million in Affordable Care Act funding to offer new insurance options, enroll clients in new coverage options, and provide health services in new ways.

Adjusting Ryan White Agencies to Health Care Reform:  Public Ink worked with its university and federal partners to tap into the insights of HIV/AIDS agencies in order to develop web-based resources on ACA implementation. They include a series of ACA Learning Modules and a major collection of health care reform technical resources, developed by various parties, covering contracting, enrollment, planning, and agency restructuring. Public Ink also developed a series of feature articles on ACA implementation demonstrating challenges and solutions to ACA enrollment and pursuit of HRSA Health Center status.

Creating New Insurance Options: In 2011, Public Ink worked with an energetic group to compete for–and win–federal funds to start new insurance companies under Health Insurance Exchanges. Called CO-OPs, these brand new nonprofit companies are now offering individual and small group coverage, providing new competitive insurance options to consumers.

Over six months, Public Ink worked with a team of experts from insurance, actuarial, integrated care, regulatory, member organizing, and governance to create funding applications and operational plans to get insurance companies up and running in three states—New York, New Jersey, and Oregon. Our team won three of the first seven CO-OP awards granted by HHS for a total of $340 million in start-up and solvency loans. How did we do it?

  • Formed a core team.
  • Dissected the funding announcement.
  • Developed a timeline.
  • Created subgroups.
  • Put writing and editorial processes in place.
  • Created a feedback and discussion forum to continuously test and challenge each other.
  • Developed operational business plans.
  • Worked with actuaries to develop feasibility analyses.
  • Communicated with federal funders on guidance and funding application requirements.
  • Worked with project management staff to keep teams on task and meet delivery dates.

Testing New Care Innovations: Public Ink provided technical assistance in 2011-2012 to help health care providers, universities, and national associations develop sound business plans and competitive funding applications from the HHS/CMS Innovation Center. The Center’s Health Care Innovation Challenge was an extremely competitive funding opportunity for model projects demonstrating triple-aim effectiveness in lowering costs, enhancing quality of care, and improving population health.

Public Ink worked with multiple applicants to develop and articulate their models of care, workforce development planning, economic modeling, and evaluation plans. We also helped a national organization develop a multi-city project by vetting local projects and developing a national consortium of organizations located in California, Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The results? Win some, lose some. With 3,000 applicants, CMS made only 106 funding awards under the Innovation Challenge – a 3.5% acceptance rate. Despite those odds, Public Ink was there to provide technical assistance that resulted in funding of applicants in five U.S. cities.