Aug 5, 2019

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island continues legacy of support for Rhode Island Free Clinic with $80,000 grant

Grant comes during BCBSRI’s 80th anniversary; during 14 years of support, BCBSRI has donated $900K in support of thousands of uninsured Rhode Islanders served by clinic each year

PROVIDENCE, RI – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has awarded an $80,000 grant to the Rhode Island Free Clinic (RIFC) to support the Clinic’s important work in providing comprehensive health and dental care to thousands of uninsured Rhode Islanders. The grant is a nod to BCBSRI’s 80th anniversary and marks nearly $900,000 in financial support provided over the non-profits’ 14-year partnership.

RIFC is completely funded by charitable donations, and the support from partners like BCBSRI helps provide a medical home for more than 2,400 Rhode Islanders annually. Patients of the Clinic have access to primary, specialty, dental and behavioral healthcare, as well as lab work and diagnostics, medication and wellness programming – all free of cost to low-income, uninsured adults.

“Blue Cross is one of Clinic’s longest and strongest partnerships. Their strategic investment and support has been key to the Clinic expanding services over time,” said Marie Ghazal, DNP, RN, Rhode Island Free Clinic CEO. “This support has been essential to helping the Clinic provide vital care for Rhode Island’s most vulnerable adults and our collaboration with Blue Cross over time is what makes a long-term difference in the health and vitality of the individuals and communities we serve.”  

The RIFC is volunteer- and community-powered. With a lean staff it mobilizes nearly 700 volunteer medical professionals and support personnel annually, and currently seeks more primary care and dental volunteers to help meet urgent demand. Beyond financial support, BCBSRI physicians volunteer their time providing primary care at RIFC and BCBSRI provides nonclinical volunteers for projects like Clinic renovations. BCBSRI has also assisted with bringing technical resources to the Clinic – the insurer’s analytics team helped determine the ROI on the services the Clinic provides to the state.

The Rhode Island Free Clinic is one of BCBSRI’s premier funding partners in our aim to increase access to primary care for the uninsured population in Rhode Island,” said Kim Keck, BCBSRI president and CEO. “BCBSRI is committed to passionately leading a state of health and wellbeing, and the work that the Clinic does is aligned with our mission of facilitating access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. I commend the leadership and staff of the Rhode Island Free Clinic for their remarkable results.”

The Clinic diverted approximately 600 uncompensated emergency department visits at a savings of $3.9 million through its preventive primary care services. They also saved Rhode Island $866,000 through care and counseling for uninsured people with diabetes.

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