NU Online News Service, Oct. 14, 3:13 p.m. – The California Endowment, Los Angeles, and The California HealthCare Foundation, two California health foundations, are forming the Frequent Users of Health Services Initiative, a five-year, $10 million program to help uninsured California residents who suffer from chronic illnesses.

Although many uninsured people with chronic illnesses are homeless people and other people who have no direct connection with the private health insurance system, private health insurers must pay close attention to them, because private health insurance programs end up absorbing some of the costs associated with treating the uninsured, foundation officials say.

Finding better ways to help uninsured people with chronic illnesses could make them healthier and lower health care costs for everyone, according to the foundation officials.

The new initiative will encourage organizations to develop new programs for helping uninsured people with chronic illnesses by offering one-year planning grants of up to $100,000 and three-year implementation grants of up to $900,000.

Initiative managers will consider grants from coalitions that include private hospitals and clinics as well as public health organizations.