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Regence Foundation Grants $390,000 to Improve Health Care Safety Net

Contributions emphasize need for improved mental health services and access to care

PORTLAND, Ore., May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The Regence Foundation announced today it awarded $390,000 to support health care safety net services in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Five of the eight grants awarded by The Foundation are for organizations nominated by Regence employees as part of the company's second annual employee-nominated transformation grant program.

"Encouraging Regence employees to be a part of our philanthropy process and hearing their stories about health care transformation has been an inspiring and rewarding experience," said Michael Alexander, Regence Foundation board chair. "The Regence Foundation and Regence employees truly believe that access to quality, affordable care - both for physical and mental health - is the basis for a strong community."

  • Asante Health Systems (Medford, OR): $250,000 to launch Navigating Troubled Waters, a program dedicated to improving care for patients diagnosed with mental illness. The program will have a special emphasis on rural, low-income and uninsured people in Jackson and Josephine Counties. Currently, Jackson County has the third highest per capita rate for psychiatric hospitalizations in Oregon.
  • Returning Veterans Project (RVP) (Portland, OR): $20,000 to help RVP continue providing free and confidential mental health counseling to returning Oregon military veterans and their families. According to a 2008 report from the Governor's Task Force on Veterans' Services, as many Oregon military veterans have committed suicide as have died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Public Health Foundation of Columbia County (St. Helens, OR): $20,000 to increase the number of school-based health clinics in the community. Columbia County is one of the most medically under-served counties in Oregon and is classified by the federal government as having a shortage of health care providers.
  • Cross Cultural Health Care Program (CCHCP) (Seattle, WA): $20,000 employee nominated grant to help CCHCP take its training online so health care institutions anywhere in the state can communicate medical issues to patients in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way. The goal is to help patients with limited English proficiency make informed health care decisions.
  • Health West (Pocatello, ID): $20,000 employee nominated grant to Health West, a Southeast Idaho community and migrant health care center working to increase access to care, reduce health disparities, and assure quality of care regardless of income. The grant will help Health West meet the increasing need for its services and continue its focus on quality care improvements.
  • Hospice of Spokane (Spokane, WA): $20,000 employee nominated grant to support palliative care for terminally ill patients. Hospice helps individuals and families navigate through the medical, emotional and spiritual issues that arise as they near the end of their own - or a loved one's - life.
  • Mountainlands Community Health Center (Provo, UT): $20,000 employee nominated grant for Mountainlands, a comprehensive center addressing the physical, mental and dental health needs of the most vulnerable uninsured and underserved residents of Utah County. The grant will also support Mountainlands' efforts to expand its case management program and hire a part-time health educator.
  • North by Northeast Community Health Center (Portland, OR): $20,000 employee nominated grant to support basic medical services and health screenings provided at no charge to low-income individuals without health insurance living in inner north and northeast Portland. The center started in 2005 to address the health care needs of Hurricane Katrina survivors who had been relocated to the Portland area, and has since expanded to serve the wider community.

"At The Regence Foundation, our goal is to drive meaningful change in the health care system," said Monique Barton, Regence Foundation executive director. "We do that by forging lasting relationships with nonprofits that share our vision of transforming health care and building healthier communities."

Several of these grants were awarded through The Regence Fund at The Oregon Community Foundation. For more information about The Regence Foundation, please visit

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 fall 2009, the Foundation will also partner with organizations addressing end-of-life issues.

SOURCE The Regence Foundation
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