Introduction

The United Auto Workers (www.uaw.org) and Ford Motor Company (www.ford.com) launched a Community Healthcare Initiative in the Louisville MSA (KY & IN) in 2001 to encourage the development of a community health care delivery system that:

  • provides high quality health services;
  • promotes disease & accident prevention;
  • improves community health status;
  • enhances the quality of life;
  • reduces the costs through the efficient and appropriate cost-effective delivery of services; and
  • promotes a culture of best practices.

The Community Healthcare Initiative process seeks to realize this vision through the development of broad-based collaboration among consumers, purchasers, caregivers, and providers.

As part of this initiative, UAW/Ford commissioned The Lewin Group, a noted health policy research and management firm from Washington D.C., to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the health status, needs and resources in the Louisville MSA. This work was synthesized and analyzed into a report which is called the Louisville MSA Community Assessment Factbook.

In addition to their investment in the community health assessment, UAW/Ford has a support office with two Directors to lead this initiative: Mary Lyle and Randa Deaton.

UAW/Ford are serving the community by bringing multiple stakeholders (e.g. business, union, hospital, physicians, insurance providers, etc.) to the table to develop collaborative action plans to address and improve the quality and efficiency of health care on a community-wide basis through the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative.

History of Community Healthcare Initiative

Ford Motor Co. CEO Bill Ford “said the United States spends more money on health care — $17 trillion in 2003 – than any other nation. Ford’s health care costs soared to more than $3.2 billion in 2003, up from $2 billion in 2000. The company spends more on health care – more than $1,000 per car and truck sold – than it does on steel.”

American International Automobile Dealers, By Jeff Plungis, November 11, 2004

Both the UAW and the big three autos were very supportive of healthcare reform. In the wake of its failure, they realized that in order to see change in health status in the health system, efforts must be focused at the community level. By improving health care for the entire community, there will be a positive impact on UAW-Ford members and employees.

The Community Health Initiative, a joint program between the UAW and the big three autos, were created and piloted with UAW-GM in Flint Michigan in 1994.

In view of the positive results and savings that were accomplished in Flint, several initiatives were launched in multiple states to accomplish the goals mentioned above.

Those initiatives are:

  • UAW-General Motors: Flint, MI; Anderson, IN; Warren/Youngstown, OH
  • UAW-Chrysler: Kenosha, WI; Wilmington/Newark, DE; Kokomo, IN
  • UAW-Ford Motor Company: Kansas City, MO; Louisville, KY