Alameda County Granted Competitive Pay for Success Award

Published Wednesday, September 23, 2015 | by Alameda Cunty Health Care Services

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September 1, 2015 (San Leandro, CA). Alameda County was selected to receive a $275,575 award as part of a groundbreaking funding initiative called Pay for Success. The goal of this grant is to address the problem of childhood asthma. The award will help fund a feasibility study to learn how to prevent asthma and to act quickly to address housing problems that lead to asthma in children. The funding will be provided by the California Pay for Success Initiative, a project of Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) and The James Irvine Foundation.

In a Pay for Success project, private funders and investors pay for social services up front, working with counties, states, and service providers. In this case, the goal is to address childhood asthma. If the project succeeds, the County will pay the funders back, with a small return on their investment. If the project does not address the problem at the agreed-upon levels, the County doesn’t have to pay. It is a model designed to both improve outcomes and reduce costs.

Alameda County aims to use the Pay for Success model to shift funding for social services toward prevention and early intervention activities to address childhood asthma through its Healthy Homes program. That program helps to reduce housing hazards that can lead to asthma, as well as provide education on asthma triggers and offer technical assistance to property owners.

“Childhood asthma is a tragedy, but the bigger tragedy is that we know we can help prevent it for so many children. The funding will help us provide home based interventions that can help us keep children healthy and even save lives,” said Maricela Foster, Executive Director of the Healthy Homes Department.

“We are confident that this initiative will help us learn how to prevent children from having to make traumatic trips to the emergency room and the hospital,” said Brenda Rueda-Yamashita, Chronic Disease Program Director of the Public Health Department. “The program has the added benefit of saving money, which can go toward helping children even more.”

Partners of the initiative award are the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, Public Health Department, and the Community Development Agency’s Healthy Homes Department along with its partners Impact4Health, LLC, Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc., and the University of California, Berkeley.

The award will support continued development of the Pay for Success initiative over the next 18 months. It will also set the foundation for Alameda County’s pursuit of other Pay for Success initiatives to address chronic conditions such as diabetes, homelessness, and recidivism. For more information on the California Pay for Success Initiative visit