Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Announces 2011 BlueAngel Community Health Grant Recipients

(Providence, RI, 5.25.2011)

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) today announced the recipients of its 2011 BlueAngel Community Health Grant (BACHG) program. Nine local organizations will receive funding to help provide access to care and improve the quality of life for the people of Rhode Island.

The BACHG program has touched the lives of more than 184,000 Rhode Islanders since 2002. To make this possible, BCBSRI partners with community-based agencies that are focused on breaking down barriers to healthcare access created by costs, culture, miscommunication, system structure, or lack of education.

"We believe that all Rhode Islanders deserve access to high-quality, cost-effective, and affordable healthcare," said Michele Lederberg, executive vice president for BCBSRI. "The BACHG program helps us extend our reach beyond our members to address access to care for the uninsured and other vulnerable populations in Rhode Island. We are proud to support so many wonderful organizations that help us deliver such important services to our community."

This year, BCBSRI will support efforts focused on closing the gap on healthcare disparities; providing direct access to care for the uninsured and/or assist uninsured consumers with low-cost coverage programs and providers; and education programs encouraging healthy lifestyles.

These six organizations each will receive $25,000 in BACHG funding in 2011:

  • Chad Brown Health Center (CBHC), in partnership with the Providence Housing Authority and with recent funds from the City of Providence, is setting up on-site primary care and mental health services for residents of Dexter Manor, Providence. With BACHG, this program will become the cornerstone of CBHC expansion to public housing residents and provide care to 300 new patients.
  • Dorcas Place's Rhode Island Welcome Back Center (RIWBC), an adult education and workforce development program, connects internationally educated health professionals living in RI with diverse health care workforce needs. With BACHG funding, the RIWBC will strengthen job development services for foreign trained clinical professionals and expand a clinical observation program at health care sites in RI.
  • Providence Community Health Center, Inc. (PCHC) will use BACHG funding to expand the hours of PCHC EXPRESS, a look-alike urgent care center that provides an emergency room alternative and will expand operating hours to accommodate 1,250 patients a year there by reducing those patients use of more costly hospital emergency departments.
  • Taming Asthma (TA) provides free asthma medical treatment, medications and education to low-income, uninsured individuals at a clinic. BACHG funding will support its free medication program and allow TA to implement Mi Pediatra/My Pediatrician for 100 pediatric patients who are uninsured and without a pediatrician.
  • Thundermist Community Health Center provides comprehensive healthcare and case management services to chronically homeless individuals in the Woonsocket area through Healthcare for the Homeless (HCH) as well as monthly workshops at local shelters. BACHG funds will help offset the costs of this important program not covered by United States Public Health Resources and Services Administration.
  • Youth in Action (YIA) has been running the highly successful Youth Educating About Health (YEAH) program for 10 years. The program improves youths' behavior, skills, knowledge, and decision-making about safe sex through peer-developed and administered health education, while increasing youths' access to family planning and clinical services. BCBSRI funding will provide more than 700 teens in underserved communities with both education about healthy sexual decision making and access to user-friendly, culturally appropriate testing of sexually transmitted infections, and family planning services.

Additionally, three organizations each received a second year of funds as part of BCBSRI's two- year grant program:

  • WellOne, formerly known as Northwest Community Health Center, is the only provider of primary care services in Northwestern R.I. that provides care to patients regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. More than 20 percent of its 13,000 patients are fully uninsured with many more under-insured. Additional BACHG funding of $25,000—for a total of $50,000 to date—will help support the WellOne Behavioral Health Center.
  • Clinica Esperanza – Hope Clinic will receive $20,000 for its primary care clinic for RI's uninsured which opened in Olneyville in 2010 with $15,000 in BACHG funding.
  • Lucy's Hearth, a program of Family Service of Rhode Island, is a Middletown 24-hour emergency and transitional shelter for homeless mothers and children. In addition to the $10,000 in funding provided in 2010, BCBSRI will donate an additional $5,000 to enable the shelter to continue providing nutritional counseling and skill building to their clientele.

With a total of $200,000 being allocated, the BlueAngel Community Health Grants are made possible by the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Community Health Fund, a corporate donor-advised fund of The Rhode Island Foundation.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state's leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit www.bcbsri.comand follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI.

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