Bethesda Inc. Launches Initiative to Transform Health

 bi3 to spark and scale new ideas to transform community health; Announces more than $3.8 million in new grants addressing top community health issues

bi3 logo

Cincinnati, December 13, 2017 - Bethesda Inc., a major funder of health transformation and co-sponsor of TriHealth, today announced it has launched bi3, a dedicated grantmaking initiative to transform health in Greater Cincinnati. bi3 will invest in ideas with the potential to spark and scale health innovation, resulting in better health for all people. As part of its launch, bi3 is announcing $3.8 million in new funding to TriHealth and local nonprofit organizations.

“bi3 is the evolution of Bethesda Inc.’s grantmaking work which builds on our rich history of health-related innovations,” said Mark Holcomb, chairman of Bethesda Inc. “The bi3 initiative better positions us to invest in collaborations and partnerships that lead to breakthrough change in health and healthcare.”

“We carefully considered how to best personify our grants initiative to express our unique role, the values we stand for and the vision we aspire to achieve,” said Jill Miller, Bethesda Inc. president. “The letters ‘bi’ honor the Bethesda Inc. heritage. The number ‘3’ recognizes that our initiative is built on three core elements – ideas, investments and innovation. bi3 reflects the fact this initiative is not a foundation or a hospital. We are a forward-looking, philanthropic investor with a willingness to take informed risks in order to transform the health of our community, and beyond.”

Unique Ability to Activate Health Ideas

As a co-sponsor of TriHealth, the region’s largest integrated health delivery system, Bethesda Inc. and its bi3 initiative are uniquely positioned to create and fund collaborations between TriHealth and community-based organizations. As a result, bi3 has the potential to scale programs more rapidly, differentiating bi3 from other health grantmakers.

Initiative Targets Priority Areas

bi3 will build upon Bethesda Inc.’s learnings and past successes by focusing on four funding priorities representing the community’s top health needs:

  • Maternal and infant health
  • Behavioral health
  • Palliative and hospice care
  • Health innovations that are enabled by new technologies or accelerate the integration of care

bi3 is particularly interested in efforts that achieve health equity by addressing the social determinants of health and health disparities for underserved populations. In the coming months, bi3 will remain flexible in its approach to funding to best respond to new opportunities and changes in the community.

bi3 Announces Significant Grants to TriHealth in Partnership with Hospice of Cincinnati, Four Others

To kick-off the initiative, Miller said that bi3 will award more than $3.8 million in funding to spark health innovation in palliative care, behavioral health and primary care integration, as well as new digital solutions. Awards related to palliative/hospice care and behavioral health include:

  • TriHealth in Partnership with Hospice of Cincinnati
    A $3.35 million grant from bi3 over three years will enable TriHealth and Hospice of Cincinnati to launch the first health-system sponsored community-based palliative care program in the region. Once established, the program will relieve physical suffering, manage symptoms, address social needs and support care choices for vulnerable and seriously ill patients and their families.

    “Palliative care is a valuable option for patients who are very ill and struggle to make regular physician visits,” said Sandra Lobert, President and CEO Hospice of Cincinnati. “This community-based program will offer high-quality, in-home care to those most in need, transforming the system of care by creating a new alternative that addresses the complex needs of patients with advanced illness in their homes.”

    The program, called PalliaCare Cincinnati, is expected to provide better care for patients, better health by addressing emotional and physical suffering, and lower costs from decreased use of acute healthcare services. Using teams comprised of a physician, nurse practitioners and social workers, and working collaborative with the patient’s physician, the program will accomplish these goals.

  • Center for Addiction Treatment (CAT)
    A $100,000 bi3 grant will provide seed money for the start-up of a primary care clinic and medical resident training program specifically designed to treat patients suffering from addiction. The clinic will also serve as a training site for TriHealth residents and others in Family Practice and Internal Medicine, so residents can learn evidence-based practices for treating addiction as a disease.

  • TriHealth Behavioral Health
    Sparked by a $50,000 bi3 grant, the TriHealth Behavioral Health team will refine and deploy a Substance Use Disorder Program that provides clinical training and patient education on comprehensive treatment options. The program initially will focus on patients facing opioid addiction and include links to outpatient treatment upon discharge to help prevent further related admissions. The program is beginning with a pilot at Good Samaritan Hospital.

    bi3 also awarded two grants related to digital health solutions and integrating primary care: 

  • Spry Labs at Cintrifuse
    Nonprofit health systems initiate “community benefit” activities such as charity care or services such as free mobile clinics to enhance the overall health of the regions they serve. Tracking these important community benefits across large health care systems is difficult and current technology doesn’t include the features needed for complete and efficient data collection.

    With the $45,000 bi3 grant award, Spry Labs, in collaboration with TriHealth, will create a benefit tracker designed for mobile applications. This solution will allow health system employees a quick, intuitive and convenient way to track time and activities related to delivering community benefit programs. The tracker also will better enable healthcare systems to more easily measure community impact.

  • St. Vincent DePaul—Cincinnati
    A new Ohio law passed in 2016 grants pharmacists more discretion in extending or modifying prescriptions without a physician’s order. Known as a “consult agreement,” the new law details how patient care services can be immediately provided by pharmacists, including modifying current drug therapy, initiating new therapy, ordering labs, and/or physical assessment of the patient. A $100,000 bi3 grant will enable St. Vincent DePaul—Cincinnati to complete a consult agreement with Good Samaritan Free Health Center (GSFHC) in Price Hill. The agreement will have the additional benefit of providing insight into this new community healthcare model and offers a breakthrough in safety-net healthcare for patients without insurance.

One of Ohio’s Largest Health Grantmakers

Since 2010, Bethesda Inc. has invested more than $33 million in innovative ideas to transform health and health care, ranking it as one of Ohio’s largest health-focused funders, according to statistics from Grantmakers in Health, a national trade group supporting related organizations. Bethesda Inc.’s prior grantmaking work will now be incorporated into the bi3 initiative.

Prior grants have included programs such as the creation and expansion of StartStrong, a collaborative effort between TriHealth, Cincinnati Children’s, UC Health and Every Child Succeeds, which has significantly helped lower premature birth rates in Avondale and created a “playbook” for similar success in other communities. Other initiatives have ranged from first-of-its kind public reporting initiatives to fostering new models of primary care.

About bi3

bi3 is Bethesda Inc.’s forward-looking grantmaking initiative to transform health in Greater Cincinnati. bi3 invests in innovative ideas that have the ability to spark and scale new approaches to improve community health. Visit to learn more.

Bethesda Inc.

Bethesda Inc. is co-sponsor of TriHealth and grantmaker via bi3. Bethesda Inc. is a non-profit support organization that oversees the Bethesda Fertility Center and Bethesda Foundation, which provides philanthropic support for Bethesda hospitals, Hospice of Cincinnati and Fernside.