Ithaca Health Fund

It is our mission to facilitate access to health care for all with a focus on the needs of the uninsured. The Ithaca Health Fund program helps those in need with the costs of emergency medical or dental expenses and supports health and wellness efforts by our community partners.

Thomas Hoebbel Photography

The Ithaca Health Fund is a discretionary grant program that provides emergency medical assistance to those with financial need and supports other nonprofit organizations in our communities who conduct health-related projects. The Ithaca Health Fund is a unique program: funded entirely by the donations of Health Alliance members to support the communities we live in, it's an innovative grassroots approach to our nation's healthcare crisis.

General or Provider members of the Ithaca Health Alliance, including members enrolled for free on donated memberships, are eligible to apply for grants or loans for specified health needs that include preventive care, emergency procedures, and dental care. Please note that IHA general membership is available to residents of New York State only: persons who will affirm that they reside at the given NYS address for most of the calendar year.

We try to keep grant application simple. When members wish to request a grant through the Health Fund, they can direct their health care provider to mail a bill for services rendered to the Ithaca Health Alliance. Members can also mail us copies of bills directly. We will confirm household size and income and review any additional information sent in with the request. IHA staff and Finance Committee members then assess the bill(s) for grant eligibility, based on IHA grant categories, grant considerations (below), and the status of the member. The member, health care provider, and member's health insurance provider (if any) may be contacted for further information in the process of grant review. Grant payments are then prepared based upon the results of this process. Review of grants may take a week to one month to complete.

Maximum total grants per member: $3,000 first year; $3,500 second and third years; $4,000 thereafter.

For more information see:

    1. Current categories of member grants available through the Health Fund
    2. Interest-free loans for dental procedures, eye care and for healthcare professionals
    3. IHA Community Grants small grants program for other organizations and groups conducting health-related work

By using a reporting system based on anonymous member numbers, we can be wholly transparent about the Health Fund's grant activities and at the same time vigorously protect the confidentiality of all grant recipients.
Grants Made and Denied (updated throughout the year):
Grants Made to Members
Grants Denied

Ithaca Health Alliance / Ithaca Health Fund Program grant considerations

  1. Each Ithaca Health Alliance member's "membership year" is in effect from the date a donation, or qualifying application for donated membership, is received by the IHA to one year from that date. Grants and loans through the Ithaca Health Fund are available for healthcare services received during the membership year when other requirements are met.
  2. IHA members must submit copies of medical or dental bills to request a grant from the Ithaca Health Fund within the same membership year as services are received or within 6 months after the end of that membership year.
  3. Photocopies of bills on proper letterhead are to be submitted with requests for grants by either member or health provider. Approved grants will be paid to the health provider, or to the member. Members must sign a form authorizing the Ithaca Health Alliance to call health provider(s) to request information as required.
  4. When members think they have an expense that qualifies for a grant, they may mail proof of expense to Ithaca Health Alliance, PO Box 362, Ithaca, NY 14851. The Health Alliance office may call health provider(s) to verify whether these expenses are insured. If so, grants are eligible for the remaining parts of expense, within grant limits. We may also call the member for clarification.
  5. For IHA granting purposes, a broken bone is defined as an actual fracture or break, as distinguished from a contusion, dislocation, or sprain, and must be verified as such by bill(s) for services documenting the same. Emergency stitches are defined as those resulting from accidental or non-elective laceration or puncture. Ambulance rides include medical helicopter rides.
  6. The maximum total amount of grants available to any member during the first year's membership is $3,000, during second and third year $3,500, during fourth and subsequent years $4,000. The maximum paid shall be the maximum grantable at date of injury or first treatment.
  7. FUND IS PAYER OF LAST RESORT. Ithaca Health Alliance grants are not available for expenses paid by insurance or other third parties. However, order of payment of bills by insurers shall not preclude the Ithaca Health Alliance from awarding its own maximum in grants, within approved categories, when total of all bills for the injury exceeds the maximum payment by insurance.
  8. Grants are made anywhere in the world for any credentialed health provider whose scope of practice includes the services rendered.
  9. For each grant, a member may ask IHA to prioritize grant amounts as the member prefers, e.g., to doctor or ambulance.
  10. Monies reserved by the Ithaca Health Alliance for Fund activities shall retain a minimum balance, to be determined by the Ithaca Health Alliance Board, below which no grants will be made. Granting resumes when the Fund surpasses the minimum balance. This minimum balance is currently $40,000.
  11. If grant payment is appropriate and approved by the Finance committee, the Ithaca Health Alliance seeks first to make partial/full payment with any Ithaca HOURS available. The remainder of payments will be made in U.S. dollars.
  12. If a grant is denied, then the member has the right to appeal to the Finance Committee. Any reevaluation of grant award will, if approved, be calculated from the original date of submission.
  13. The maximum grant amount from the Fund for a specific type of injury/health expense will be set by the Board. Current granting categories and maxima are listed on the Ithaca Health Alliance website and are available by request from the IHA office. Each grant category may have specific conditions for granting, including but not limited to minimum length of membership for eligibility, requirement of provider discount, and referral of credentialed provider for the health service received.
  14. The Ithaca Health Fund is a project of The Ithaca Health Alliance, Inc. Board members alone are responsible for legal documents and are indemnified and held harmless for claims against the Fund.

The policies above were last reviewed and ratified by the Board of Directors, January 2009. These terms shall apply until revised by the Board.

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