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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation Awards $1.6 Million in Grants.

Health/Medical Writers

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 7, 2004

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation (BCBSMA Foundation) announced a total of $1.6 million in grants to help 50 Massachusetts organizations coordinate care for uninsured patients and ensure that low-income consumers are enrolled in state-funded health insurance programs.

"This is a critical time to invest in organizations that serve the uninsured," said Foundation President Andrew Dreyfus. "A slow economy, rising health costs, and cuts in state programs are causing an increase in the number of people without health insurance in Massachusetts."

The Foundation awarded one-year grants ranging from $10,000 to $60,000. Examples of the types of programs supported by these grants include:

Berkshire Health Systems in Pittsfield, with collaborators Community Health Network of the Berkshires (CHNA) and Berkshire County House of Correction (BCHC), received $15,000. The grant will fund the Advocacy for Access (AFA) program that provides post-enrollment and specialized enrollment services to the uninsured in Central and Southern Berkshire County, new MassHealth enrollees, hospital inpatient substance abuse patients, and psychiatric persons in the correctional system.

Island Health Plan, serving Falmouth and Martha's Vineyard, with collaborators Rural Health Clinic, Island Counseling Center, Cape Cod Health Care and the Falmouth Free Clinic, received $50,000. The grant will support the Vineyard Health Care Access Program (VHCAP) to expand its Reduced Fee Plan to include a partnership with the Island's new Rural Health Clinic for affordable primary care, and to expand access to coordinated care at off-Island facilities. The VHCAP will provide care coordination, system navigation, transportation, and financial counseling and assistance. The target population for this program is the 2,400 to 3,200 uninsured and underinsured Island residents among the year-round population of 16,000, including 2,000 Brazilian immigrants.

Whittier Street Health Center received $40,000 to establish an outreach, education, screening, and coordinated care program for uninsured men of color, primarily Blacks and Latinos, ages 18-24. The health center will create an "Evening Men's Clinic" that integrates medical care with social service and behavioral health treatments for a vulnerable and difficult to serve population. Collaborators are Lower Roxbury Coalition, Roxbury Community Alliance for Health, Department of Corrections, Suffolk County House of Corrections, and local churches.

Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) received $35,000 to develop the immigrant community's participation in public policy development, and to create collaborations among policy, advocacy, and service organizations on immigrant health care access issues.

Since its inception in 2001, the BCBSMA Foundation (www.bcbsmafoundation.org) has awarded grants of more than $7 million to spark innovation and strengthen services for uninsured and low-income individuals and families in Massachusetts. The Foundation is governed by its own 17-member Board of Directors, and operates separately from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. BCBSMA committed an initial endowment of $55 million, making the Foundation one of the largest health philanthropies in Massachusetts.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 7, 2004
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