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Grants Strengthen the Health Care Safety Net
Date:2/17/2009

Regence Foundation awards $380,000 for local clinics and health technology projects

PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The Regence Foundation announced today eight grants geared toward building healthier communities and improving health care technology in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington. The grants, totaling $380,000, range from rural nursing education to building a health care quality Web site.

"The Regence Foundation believes philanthropy is a meaningful tool to help transform health care," said Michael Alexander, Regence Foundation board chair. "And in these tough economic times, it's even more important to support the good work of local nonprofits to help the most vulnerable among us."

  • Mountain States Group (Boise, ID): $10,000 to fund its Cover Idaho Kids Project. The program will help school nurses in 15 rural Idaho school districts enroll uninsured children in the Idaho Health Plan Coverage for Children and Teens program (formerly called the CHIP/Medicaid Program).
  • United Way of Lane County (Springfield, OR): $25,000 to help the organization's 100% Access program strengthen the county's clinic safety net system. Lane County has the second highest rate of uninsured residents in Oregon, and 100% Access is working to improve the coordination of care for the uninsured and increase the resources and support available to safety net clinics.
  • Western Washington Health Education Center (Seattle, WA): $135,500 to support a distance learning program for rural nursing students so they can pursue nursing education while continuing to live and work in their own communities. The distance learning program is intended to help ease Washington's nursing shortage, which is especially severe in rural areas.
  • Medical Foundation of Marion and Polk Counties (Salem, OR): $21,600 to help connect uninsured people with available providers. In the Salem area, a significant number of uninsured patients rely on free or reduced-fee care from local physicians, and Project Access developed a systematic way of efficiently linking people needing care with providers able to give it.
  • Coalition of Community Health Clinics (Portland, OR): $44,200 to create a prescription drug toolbox for its member clinics. The toolbox will contain strategies to help reduce the cost of prescription drugs for the clinics and its patients, because medication cost is often a barrier to following through on treatment plans.
  • Rinehart Clinic (Wheeler, OR): $58,900 to implement electronic health records to improve the clinic's chronic disease management program, prevent prescription drug errors and interactions, increase preventive medicine focus and expedite access to patient records and lab results.
  • Christ Clinic (Spokane, WA): $30,000 challenge grant to fund the organization's hire of an additional nurse practitioner and its ability to treat patients. Currently, the clinic is understaffed and forced to turn patients away. This grant will help triple the number of uninsured patients it is able to see.
  • Utah Partnership for Value-Driven Health Care (Salt Lake City, UT): $54,800 to build a consumer-focused health Web site. The organization is dedicated to helping consumers make smart health care choices, and the site will feature a health care rating system and information about health care quality, cost and access.

"The Regence Foundation is committed to supporting the work of nonprofits tackling some of the root causes of our broken health care system," said Monique Barton, Regence Foundation executive director. "These eight grants all recognize and support transformative nonprofits improving the health care system through innovative methods."

The grants were funded through The Regence Fund at The Oregon Community Foundation. For more information, please visit regencefoundation.org.

About The Regence Foundation

The Regence Foundation is the corporate foundation of The Regence Group, the largest health insurer in the Northwest/Intermountain region and a not-for-profit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. A 501(c)3 grantmaking organization, the Foundation partners with organizations driving significant change in health care delivery and accessibility in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Starting in spring 2009, the Foundation will also partner with organizations addressing end-of-life issues.


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SOURCE The Regence Foundation
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