$250,000 each for child, adult programs from Sutter Health fund

NOVATO – Grants totaling $500,000 were distributed by the Marin Community Foundation to provide health care to uninsured children and to help older adults remain in their homes as long as possible in the second round of funding from the Sutter Health Access to Care Fund.

The fund, overseen and distributed by the foundation, is a $10 million donor fund established earlier this year in a partnership between Sutter Health and the foundation.

A $250,000 grant will go toward insurance premiums enabling children to receive preventative and primary health care. Approximately 900 children in Marin County, whose parents can't afford the cost of private health insurance or don't quality for publicly funded programs, will benefit from the grant, according to the Marin Children's Initiative.

The grants will help fund outpatient medical services, dental and vision coverage, the foundation said.

"Without adequate medical insurance, even routine childhood illnesses can become serious," said Thomas Peters, president and CEO of the foundation. "It's vital that kids have regular check-ups and easy, affordable access to a range of medical services. By assuring that these youngsters are cared for, the health status for all kids in Marin is improved."

Another $250,000 will go toward an adult day health program that assists older adults in maintaining and improving their ability to live on their own while staying healthy.

LifeLong Medical Care in Novato will receive the grant, and participants will benefit from a clinical team approach that includes a medical doctor, nurse, social worker and an activity coordinator, along with physical, occupational and speech therapist, the foundation said.

The integrated approach to in-home care helps older adults "increase their independence, strengthen their mobility, build new social connections and learn about their personal health and nutritional needs," Mr. Peters said.

Earlier this year, the foundation distributed $1.25 million from the fund to a number of community health centers for dental care, vaccinations, behavioral health services and substance abuse treatment. Among the recipients were Marin Community Clinics, the Coastal Health Alliance and the Ritter Center.

"Helping ensure the health of children and older adults is a critical contribution to the overall health of the community, and we're pleased that our partnership with Marin Community Foundation is getting resources to where they're especially needed," said Martin Brotman, president of Sutter Health's West Bay Region.

The $10 million fund is expected to be distributed over the course of five years.