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American Cancer Society Awarded Dual WellPoint Foundation Grants to Expand Hope Lodge Network and Patient Navigation Program
Date:5/6/2009

Grants will assist American Cancer Society in providing services to newly diagnosed and in-treatment patients

INDIANAPOLIS, May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The WellPoint Foundation, LLC, a private, non-profit organization wholly funded by WellPoint, Inc., has provided dual grants in the total amount of $1 million to the American Cancer Society to expand the reach of its Hope Lodge network and Patient Navigation Program.

"Comprehensive care and support services are essential to the wellbeing of cancer patients and their families. Unfortunately a large number of patients currently do not have access to the support and resources they need," said Nancy Yaw, Chief Executive Officer, American Cancer Society, Great Lakes Division. "The grants provided by the WellPoint Foundation will enable the American Cancer Society to expand its services in underserved areas and significantly increase the number of patients receiving help."

The Hope Lodge grant awarded to the Society, in the amount of $550,000, will support Hope Lodges in four states. The Great Lakes Division received a portion of the grant, totaling $250,000, to support a capital campaign to build a Hope Lodge in Indianapolis, Indiana. The remaining grant funds will support the operation of three new Hope Lodges in Kentucky, Wisconsin and Ohio. Hope Lodges provide cancer patients and their families free, temporary lodging in a supportive and nurturing environment when they are receiving treatment away from home. Each Hope Lodge is also equipped with a variety of resources and information about cancer and treatment options. Twenty-eight Hope Lodges now exist across the country. The Society would like to see that number expand because research shows that the current demand for lodging far exceeds the supply.

The Patient Navigation Program was developed to decrease the fragmentation of cancer treatment services and increase the access of cancer treatment among uninsured and underserved Americans. Through the program, the Society places trained staff in hospitals across the country to assist newly diagnosed cancer patients as they begin treatment. With the support of the second grant from the WellPoint Foundation, in the amount of $450,000, the Society will place additional hospital-based staff in six key markets and work toward achieving its goal of serving 50 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients within the next five years.

The grant will enable the American Cancer Society to partner with local medical centers and expand a number of program initiatives in the following key markets:

  • California: The grant will enable the implementation of The Personal Health Manager (PHM), a patient support program.
  • New York: The grant will be utilized to add additional trained staff, known as Patient Navigators, to the New York Cancer Resource Network to provide more comprehensive cancer support resources to low income patients.
  • Colorado: The grant will support the expansion of the Cancer Resource Network in Denver and help achieve state-wide goals of serving a significant percentage of Colorado cancer patients, family members and caregivers.
  • Georgia: The grant will support the launch of a Patient Navigation partnership with St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital in Savannah to increase the number of Georgia patients and caregivers being served.
  • Maine: The grant will help launch a Patient Navigation partnership with Maine Medical Center to help increase the percentage of newly diagnosed patients in the state receiving services.
  • Missouri: The grant will contribute to expansion of services and will provide an additional Patient Navigator position to increase the number of newly diagnosed patients served.

"The WellPoint Foundation is dedicated to improving the health of underserved populations," said Caz Matthews, President, WellPoint Foundation. "We are pleased to have awarded these grants to the American Cancer Society in its endeavor to ease the burden and expenses associated with traveling for treatment and provide health care resources to those that may otherwise not receive the necessary support."

About the WellPoint Foundation:

The WellPoint Foundation, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization wholly funded by WellPoint, Inc. Through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes WellPoint's inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that WellPoint's affiliate health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that, among other health related programs, address and provide innovative solutions to promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates' campaign pledges. To learn more about the WellPoint Foundation please visit www.wellpointfoundation.org.

About WellPoint, Inc.:

WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of medical membership in the United States. WellPoint is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and serves its members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation's largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.


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SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.
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