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Jewish Healthcare Foundation

Jewish Community / Israel

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation honors its Montefiore legacy, giving special attention to the health needs of the Jewish community. 

In Pittsburgh:

  • JHF has contributed more than $18 million – now an annual commitment of $900,000 – to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh since 1990. The Federation distributes these funds to key agencies in the Jewish community, helping to address the community's health-related needs, including the Jewish Association on Aging, Jewish Family & Children's Service, the Jewish Community Center and Jewish Residential Services.
  • JHF has committed $34.5 million to create and sustain the Jewish Association on Aging, a continuum of care for seniors—from nursing home care to assisted living, home-delivered meals, and hospice care.
  • Additional special grants:
    • Funded the planning and start-up of the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry – the only also-kosher food pantry in the Greater Pittsburgh area
    • Funded and guided the development of the Squirrel Hill Health Center – a federally-qualified health center which brings high quality, affordable physical, dental, and behavioral health care to underserved Pittsburgh residents
    • Maintain the vitality of local Jewish institutions, including Riverview Towers, Jewish day school health programs, synagogue and other programs

In Israel:

In nine bi-directional visits between 2009 and 2013, Israeli and American professionals shared best practices and collaborated around the challenge of providing patient-centered, high quality and efficient care against the backdrop of rising rates of chronic disease and resource constraints in both countries. In March 2009, [S1] clinicians and policy experts led by JHF were introduced to the Israeli healthcare system by policy experts convened by the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute in Jerusalem. The group also visited Clalit hospitals and was introduced to innovative models of care throughout the country. We learned that Israel achieved universal coverage and superior population health outcomes at half of U.S. per capita spending. The visit, followed by others, resulted in concrete outcomes:

  • Informing the U.S. health care reform debate: We commissioned Brookdale’s Dr. Bruce Rosen to prepare a series of six white papers comparing and contrasting key aspects of the Israeli and American healthcare systems. 
  • Bringing an important Israeli innovation to the U.S.: After visiting two secondary care centers in Haifa and bringing Dr. Chen Shapira (CEO of Carmel Hospital, Haifa) to Pittsburgh to deliver a keynote address to share further details, we leveraged these learnings to bring a multi-million dollar grant to create primary care resource centers in six hospitals in the Pittsburgh region.
  • Introducing regional improvement collaborative to Israel: JHF President & CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD. introduced the role of regional players in health care by presenting, “The Role of a Regional Initiative in Health Policy, USA,” at the Fourth International Jerusalem Conference on Health Policy in December 2009. The presentation later became a chapter in the publication, Accountability and Responsibility in Health Care: Issues in Addressing an Emerging Global Challenge, edited by Bruce Rosen, Avi Israeli, and Stephen Shortell.
  • Engaging Israel’s large HMO in PRHI’s lean-based Perfecting Patient Care℠ training: Visits to several Clalit Health Services hospitals identified quality improvement opportunities ideal for PPC training. JHF funded five pilot quality improvement projects, brought Clalit staff to Pittsburgh for PPC training to help drive and support efforts, hired an Israeli quality improvement coach to support the improvement projects, and provided PPC training (in Hebrew!) to frontline staff. The early stages of this engagement are described in PPC Goes International: The Israel Healthcare Quality Partnership (Feb 2013).
  • Challenging Israel to eliminate waste and errors: In November 2011, Dr. Feinstein delivered the keynote address, “Can Industrial Engineering Perfect Patient Care?” at the Israel Society for Quality in Health Care’s annual conference, Israel’s largest annual healthcare conference.
  • Looking Ahead: A November 2013 visit to Israel provided an opportunity to reflect on JHF’s quality improvement relationship with Clalit. Summarized in a JHF Branches publication (Cross-National Learning: The Ongoing Israel Quality Partnership), Dr. Feinstein champions the value of cross-national learning (p. 2), journalist Michael Millenson described the Israeli health care system as reaching a crossroad (pp. 3-9), and Dr. Ran Balicer (Director of the Clalit Research Institute) and Yifat Lavi (the Israeli PRHI quality improvement coach) describe both the challenges and fruits of Clalit’s application of lean-PPC methods (pp. 9-13). 
  • Building on a now 5-year relationship, we are hopeful for ongoing, mutually beneficial collaboration in the years ahead.
Programs & Projects