CVS Health Foundation President Honored for Commitment to Free Clinics

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics awarded their 2019 Safety Net Health Care Champion Award to Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy for CVS Health and president of the CVS Health Foundation.

The annual award highlights the important work being done across the country to provide affordable, accessible health care to the medically underserved. It honors an individual who through their actions has made an extraordinary impact on the organization, the Free and Charitable Clinic and Charitable Pharmacy community, and most importantly their patients.

“Under Eileen Howard Boone’s leadership, our member organizations have grown in their ability to support their communities and their patients” NAFC President and Chief Executive Officer Nicole Lamoureux said. “Her personal commitment to the medically underserved in our country is evident; she is a thought leader when it comes to philanthropy, enhancing partnerships and expanding health care access to the medically underserved in the country.”

Since launching the partnership with the NAFC, the CVS Health Foundation in conjunction with CVS Health has provided close to $8 Million in funding to Free and Charitable Clinics, Charitable Pharmacies and State Associations in 45 states across the country. This support has allowed the NAFC’s organizational members to provide care to over tens of thousands of additional people, added thousands of hours of operations and helped save over 12 million dollars in avoided emergency room costs.

More information on the NAFC partnership with CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Mini-Grants Support Community-led Healthy Aging Work

Forty community-based organizations each will receive a Momentum Fund mini-grant of up to $10,000 from Tufts Health Plan Foundation. Now in its second year, the fund was established to foster promising ideas and support cities and towns in their efforts to make their communities better places to grow up and grow old.

“These mini-grants make it possible for organizations to build on community insights,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “We know the best ideas come from cities and towns as they reimagine aging.”

The Momentum Fund is supporting 10 projects in Rhode Island. Each is community-led, addresses healthy aging and includes older people in the planning and implementation process. The projects address the social determinants of health, including access to healthy food and affordable housing. Several projects provide support for people living with dementia and promote healthy aging in multicultural communities.

“Many of the Momentum Fund recipients are taking on new programs or projects to make their communities more age- and dementia-friendly,” said Phillip González, the Foundation’s senior program officer. “We look forward to learning with them.”

The Foundation convened review committees in each state to inform the grantmaking process. Review committee members have diverse backgrounds and experience, and will ensure that learning and insights are shared across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

The 2019 Momentum Fund grant recipients in Rhode Island are Cranston Senior Services ; Family Service of Rhode Island; Healthcentric Advisors; Hope’s Harvest Rhode Island ;
LMW Healthcare, Inc.; Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island, Inc.; Progreso Latino, Inc.; Rhode Island Community Food Bank; SAGE-RI; SAGE-RI; The Providence Village of Rhode Island.

CVS Health Partners with Alzheimer’s Association

GCRI member CVS Health and the Alzheimer’s Association announced a three-year corporate partnership aimed at fighting Alzheimer’s disease – a disease impacting more than 5 million Americans and 16 million caregivers across the country. The partnership is launching with an in-store fundraising campaign that will provide $10 million to support Alzheimer’s Association programs, including those aimed at caregiver education, care and support, and disease research.

“I know from my own experience caring for my mother as she battled Alzheimer’s how important it is to support both the patient and the caregivers in that patient’s life,” said Kevin Hourican, Executive Vice President, CVS Health and President, CVS Pharmacy. “Our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association will fund important programs to help our customers who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, while also connecting them to needed resources and services that can support them.”

The in-store fundraising campaign, which launched Sunday, November 3, will run at the 9,900 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide through November 23. During these three weeks, CVS Pharmacy customers will have the opportunity to contribute to the Alzheimer’s Association at the register in CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide. The in-store fundraising campaign will repeat the next two Novembers, coinciding with National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month.

Throughout November, the Alzheimer’s Association and CVS Health will communicate with customers about tips and resources available to support family caregivers. Currently, more than 16 million family members and friends are serving as Alzheimer’s caregivers. Nearly half of all caregivers (48 percent) who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Some of the proceeds from the campaign will be used by the Alzheimer’s Association to develop a new caregiver education program for in-person and online delivery in English and Spanish.

In conjunction with the partnership, beginning in 2020, CVS Health will also serve as a national presenting sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, held annually in more than 600 communities across the country. CVS Health will also participate in the event, joining the National Walk Team Program, providing its 295,000 employees across the country an opportunity to join in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

“The Alzheimer’s Association is grateful for the commitment and enthusiasm CVS Health brings to the fight against Alzheimer’s,” McCullough said. “The funds raised through our partnership will bolster our efforts to support families facing Alzheimer’s and advance much needed research that will one day change the future for millions.”

BCBSRI Launches Rhode Island Life Index

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), through a partnership with the Brown University School of Public Health (Brown), unveiled a report summarizing a new data resource – the RI Life Index – based on interviews conducted with more than 2,200 Rhode Islanders about life factors influencing health and well-being in the state.

The survey results, representing Rhode Islanders’ perceptions about their own health and well-being, as well as that of their community, offer a first-of-its-kind, unique window into what state residents believe to be significant challenges as well as community strengths.

The RI Life Index showed strengths in the following areas: availability of safe and reliable transportation; access to affordable, nutritious food; availability and quality of civic, social, and healthcare services for seniors and the ability to age in place; and programs and services available for children. In contrast, respondents had lower perceptions of the availability of quality affordable housing, job opportunities and job training programs.

“At Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, our vision to passionately lead a state of health and well-being across Rhode Island was the impetus for creating this index. As a proud local company celebrating 80 years, we are committed to building a healthier Rhode Island,” said Kim Keck, BCBSRI president and CEO. “The RI Life Index confirms something we’ve seen reported at the national level – when it comes to health outcomes and overall well-being, zip code is more important than genetic code. Where people are born and live in Rhode Island has a profound impact on their lives.”

Keck continued, “Using the RI Life Index data as a foundation, for the first time in our company history we will launch BlueAngel Community Health Grants (BACHG) focused on housing, complementing our existing philanthropic investments.”

BCBSRI unveiled the RI Life Index at an event that included remarks from Keck and Bess Marcus, Ph.D., dean of the Brown School of Public Health. Melissa Clark, Ph.D., professor of health service, policy and practice, and director of the Survey Research Center at the School of Public Health, presented the RI Life Index and talked about the research she and her team conducted.

“The School of Public Health worked to develop and ensure the highest quality data collection for the Life Index survey in order to capture the perceptions of health and well-being from Rhode Islanders,” said Brown professor of health service, policy and practice Melissa Clark. “As many residents of Rhode Island already know, social determinants of health, such as the cost of housing and employment issues, often make it incredibly challenging for many families to experience the highest quality of health and well-being.”

The RI Life Index survey was conducted in April and May 2019 with randomly selected Rhode Island residents from across the state. The survey focused on social determinants of health, as well as topic areas specific to older adults, children, social integration and access to healthcare. The survey also asked about the opioid epidemic, access to mental health and substance use treatment, discrimination in healthcare and emergency room use.

Using the data, percent of the possible (POP) scores were created for various aspects of health and well-being in a community. This allowed for the combination of multiple indicators into a single score, allowing for easier observation of targeted areas for improvement, as well as community strengths. Scores ranging from 0 to 100 show how close the community is to the ideal, with a higher POP score indicating moving toward a healthier community. Scores were also determined factoring in geography, age and income.

“The Rhode Island Life Index is truly a data resource, one that will guide us in how we assist boots-on-the-ground organizations in their essential work to improve the lives of all Rhode Islanders,” said Keck. “This is just the beginning. Armed with our vision and these data, BCBSRI will develop new approaches – and strengthen existing programs – to address health disparities and gaps in health outcomes. And that effort will start by directing our BACHG competitive grant program to support initiatives that result in more Rhode Islanders being able to access safe, healthy and stable housing in 2020.”

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Awards Grants for Rhode Island Senior Centers That Step(ped) Up (to the) Challenge

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) motivated older adults to log steps and physical activity in September in support of senior centers across the state – all part of BCBSRI’s first-ever Step Up Challenge.  The friendly competition not only helped participants maintain or increase their own physical activity, but also helped three senior centers – one from each of three regions in the state – earn a $2,500 grant for health and wellness activities.

Throughout the month of September, participating senior centers tracked a total of 141,780,081 steps. The winners of the Step Up Challenge were recognized on October 19 at the Life Expo at Twin River in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Each was presented with a $2,500 check.  Winners were North Providence Mancini Center, Benjamin Church Senior Center and Cranston Senior Center.

“We are thrilled with how many older Rhode Islanders participated in our first-ever Step Up Challenge and for the support they showed to senior centers around the state,” said Ivette Luna, manager, Consumer Engagement at BCBSRI. “Helping older adults maintain their health and wellness is a priority for BCBSRI and events like the Step Up Challenge reinforce our vision of passionately leading a state of health and well-being in Rhode Island.”

In addition to the first place winners, runner-ups in each region will receive one month of fitness programming sponsored by BCBSRI. The Step Up Challenge began on September 1 with kick-off walks in Warwick, Bristol and Lincoln.  In all, 20 senior centers participated in the challenge.  In addition, participants who were not members of a senior center could also register as part of a team at one of the three BCBSRI Your Blue Store locations.  More than 1,300 people registered for the Step Up Challenge.

RIDOH Announces New Health Equity Zones

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced that expanded support and funding to three new communities to establish Health Equity Zones. East Providence, Cranston, and Providence’s West End neighborhood were chosen through a competitive process that drew nearly 20 applicants from communities across the State. These new communities will share approximately $1.4 million in funding with seven existing Health Equity Zones receiving support to continue their work in local communities.

RIDOH’s Health Equity Zone initiative is an innovative, place-based approach that brings people together to build healthy, resilient communities across Rhode Island. The initiative is grounded in research that shows up to 80% of health outcomes are determined by factors outside clinical settings, such as access to affordable, healthy foods; high-quality education; employment opportunities; and safe neighborhoods. The model encourages and equips community members and partners to collaborate to address factors like these and create healthy places for people to live, learn, work, and play.

“We are thrilled to expand our Health Equity Zones initiative to additional Rhode Island communities,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “With plans for strong mentorship from existing Health Equity Zones, these communities are taking the forces that shape their health and well-being into their own hands. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish over the next few years as we continue to lift up this initiative as a national model of how such an infrastructure led by community members can create the conditions needed for every person to thrive.”

Each successful application was submitted by a municipal or nonprofit, community-based organization that will serve as the “backbone agency” for the local Health Equity Zone. These agencies, which include East Bay Community Action Program, Comprehensive Community Action Plan, and West Elmwood Housing Corporation, will facilitate a community-led process to organize a collaborative of community partners, conduct a needs assessment, and implement a data-driven plan of action to address the obstacles to health and well-being in local neighborhoods. RIDOH will provide seed funding and support to ensure that communities ground their work in public health principles and best practices, so that measurable outcomes are reached and evaluated.

 

 

Rhode Island Foundation Awards $285,000 to Newport County Nonprofits

The Rhode Island Foundation’s Newport County Fund (NCF} offered grants of up $10,000 to 40 organizations in Newport County to develop new programs, to strengthen or expand established programs and for municipal planning or leadership. In making the funding decisions, the Foundation worked with an advisory committee comprised of residents from every community in Newport County. In total, $285,000 in grants were awarded.

“From protecting the environment to underwriting health and job readiness programs, we are fortunate to partner with organizations that are improving lives here in Newport County,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “We are thankful for the donors who make these partnerships possible.”

Awardees included Child & Family, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community CenterNewport Mental HealthAquidneck Community TableBaby StepsBooks are Wings, Boys and Girls Clubs of Newport CountyClean Ocean AccessDay One in Middletown, Girl Scouts of Southeastern New EnglandGod’s Community Garden, Island Moving Company, Jamestown Arts Center, Katie Brown Educational Program, Little Compton Community Center, Little Compton Historical SocietyMeals on WheelsMENTOR Rhode IslandNewport Community School, Newport County YMCA, Newport Gulls, the Newport Music Festival, the Newport Partnership for Families, Newport Working CitiesRhode Island Black Storytellers, Salvation ArmySave The Bay, the Seamen’s Church InstituteSpecial Olympics Rhode Island, the Star Kids Scholarship Program, Turning Around MinistriesVisiting Nurse Home & Hospice, and Women’s Resource Center 

 

 

 

RI Foundation and Blue Cross Award $2.6 Million for Behavioral Health Care

The first grants from the Behavioral Health Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation have been awarded to six nonprofit organizations to support primary and secondary prevention models and high-quality, affordable behavioral health care services across the state. 

“Helping Rhode Islanders lead healthier lives is one of our priorities. These grants will address behavioral health needs before people are in crisis. This work will lead to better outcomes across the board while targeting communities that are disproportionately impacted by behavioral health issues,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation.

The Fund was created in August 2018 by the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner with a commitment of $5 million in funding from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI). Current grants totaled $2.6 million over three years.

“The organizations and projects we are funding today are truly impressive,” said Kim Keck, president and CEO of BCBSRI. “With innovative approaches and use of emerging best practices, we are confident they can achieve long-term, sustainable outcomes. I look forward to seeing great progress in the next few years and thank all of the organizations for helping us to realize our vision to passionately lead a state of health and well-being across Rhode Island.”

“As Governor, expanding access to mental health treatment and support is one of my top priorities, and I’m excited to award the first round of Behavioral Health Fund grantees,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “As part of my administration’s effort to ensure that our state’s insurers are meeting Rhode Island’s mental and behavioral health care needs, last year OHIC conducted a market conduct exam that resulted in a financial settlement with Blue Cross Blue Shield Rhode Island. The Behavioral Health Fund was born out of that settlement.”

Nine Nonprofits Receive Grants from HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island

Harbor One Foundation Rhode Island announced that nine nonprofit organizations in the Greater Providence have received a combined $32,500 in financial support for their work helping children and families.  The foundation focuses its support on organizations that provide educational opportunities, create access to “safe and affordable” housing, and “deliver basic human services to our most vulnerable citizens.”

“It is an honor to be able to help organizations that make such an amazing impact in our community and positively affect so many lives,” said HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island President William White in a statement.

James Blake, CEO of HarborOne Bank, noted that the bank has been “warmly welcomed” into the Rhode Island community and that the foundation is “one way that we can help that community and the people and organizations in it to thrive.”

The grants each organization received ranged from $1,000 to $5,000. The organizations that received grant funding from the foundation are NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, Olneyville Housing Corp./One Neighborhood Builders, Sojourner House Inc, West Elmwood Housing Development Corp., Pawtucket School Department, The Miriam Hospital Foundation, Adoption Rhode Island, Young Voices and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island.

BCBSRI Grants $80K to Rhode Island Free Clinic

In honor of its 80th anniversary, GCRI Member Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has awarded an $80,000 grant to the Rhode Island Free Clinic, bringing the total awarded to the clinic to $870,000 over 14 years.

“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, Rhode Island Free Clinic CEO. “This support has been essential to helping the clinic provide vital care for Rhode Island’s most vulnerable adults.”

The grant is intended to support the volunteer-based clinic’s mission of providing comprehensive health and dental care to 2,400 uninsured Rhode Islanders yearly. Services are of no charge to low-income unemployed adults at the clinic. Blue Cross said that the clinic diverts uncompensated emergency department visits, saving millions of dollars in cost on the health care system.

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 CEO and president. “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 health care.”