Daily News

Health New England Creates $250,000 Grant Fund to Honor Dr. Mark Keroack

SPRINGFIELD — To honor Dr. Mark Keroack’s 10 years on the board of directors of Health New England, the health plan is creating a $250,000 grant-making fund to help community organizations improve health equity.

Keroack, president and CEO emeritus of Baystate Health, retired at the end of June. As chair of the board of Health New England, a not-for-profit health plan owned by Baystate Health, he helped form a deeper, more collaborative relationship between the entities.

The Dr. Mark A. Keroack Health Equity Grant program will provide local nonprofit organizations with a one-time grant of up to $50,000 to advance health equity in healthcare over a one-year period.

Programs are required to promote health equity and include community collaboration resulting in improved health outcomes. Programs must target communities in Franklin, Hampden, or Hampshire counties and focus on one or more of these populations: children and youth, communities of color, individuals experiencing poverty or with low incomes, or older adults.

Nonprofit organizations can learn more or apply for the grant by Aug. 28 at healthnewengland.org/community/grantprogram.

The grant program focuses on health equity as that was one of Keroack’s passions. For example, one result of his tenure is the BeHealthy Partnership, a value-based care arrangement designed to address health equity — environmental and social factors that affect health — while providing direct medical care. The BeHealthy Partnership, an accountable-care organization, serves approximately 50,000 members who qualify for insurance through MassHealth.

“The BeHealthy Partnership and its success in whole-person healthcare is my number-one fond memory and my proudest accomplishment working with Health New England,” Keroack said. “I am so honored that Health New England has created this fund in my honor, and I am thrilled that it will benefit people from marginalized communities.”

Richard Swift, president and CEO of Health New England, added that “Mark helped lead Health New England during some of the hardest days: the COVID-19 pandemic. For that, we owe him our gratitude. I will always be grateful for Mark’s passion for helping those with fewer resources to access healthcare in a groundbreaking way. Health New England is proud to have partnered with Mark and the rest of the Baystate Health team in creating the BeHealthy Partnership, and we thank him for his inspirational leadership.”