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CVS Health Foundation: $5M community health investment improves access, affordability


WOONSOCKET, R.I. —The CVS Health Foundation, a private foundation created by CVS Health, announced on Tuesday 55 new grant recipients as part of its multi-year, $5 million commitment to increase access to health care in communities nationwide.

The grants were awarded through the CVS Health Foundation's partnerships with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics, the School-Based Health Alliance and the National Association of Community Health Centers.

The Foundation also announced new data, which illustrates that grants previously awarded through these partnerships are already making a measurable difference to meet community health needs.

"As a pharmacy innovation company, we are committed to addressing the need for more accessible, coordinated health care in our local communities," stated Eileen Howard Boone, president of the CVS Health Foundation. "Through our partnership with leading community health organizations, we've been able to make meaningful progress toward improving care coordination, better managing chronic conditions and increasing access to care. We are excited to announce new grant recipients whose dedicated work will help us continue to support unique approaches and models needed to improve outcomes and lower health care costs."

Through its multi-year commitment, the Foundation has already supported nearly 150 community health organizations nationwide that share its purpose of helping people on their path to better health. New data from the results of these partnerships demonstrates this investment is already increasing access to affordable care, better coordinating care for patients and improving chronic disease management and prevention, including helping people quit smoking.

Grants awarded in partnership with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics have allowed grantees to increase operating hours and the number of patient visits, resulting in a decrease in the number of emergency room visits and improved patient compliance, the Foundation stated. For example, the Lake County Free Clinic in Painesville, Ohio reduced its patient appointment wait time from 30 days to 19 days on average. For the first time in recent years, the Family Care Health Center in St. Louis, Mo., increased the number of patients it serves. And, Family Health Centers of San Diego designed the Students and Engaged Parents for Health program, which has already helped more than 600 students and their parents learn about healthy habits, nutrition and how to access local health and social services resources, according to the Foundation.

Furthermore, working with grantees to better coordinate care can reduce health care costs and improve outcomes for patients. For example, in Massachusetts, the MetroWest Free Medical Program provided more intensive and coordinated health education to nearly 460 patients as well as follow-up care for 163 patients, which helped 92% of those follow-up patients improve their medication adherence. The St. Thomas Clinic in Franklin, Ind., was able to improve compliance with hospital discharge instructions from 33% prior to the Coordinator of Care program, to 77% in 2014, the Foundation stated. And school-based health grant recipients have developed, maintained and strengthened more than 125 partnerships with community and service providers to help better serve youth with more complex needs. For example, Project Vida in El Paso, Texas has established partnerships with organizations such as Women's Health Center and Texas Tech University to offer their smoking cessation programs to teens and adults that are current clients of these organizations.

The Foundation's investment has helped patients manage and prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and asthma, helping them stay healthier and reduce avoidable health care expenses across the system. For example, at the St. Petersburg Free Clinic in Florida, 88% of new diabetic education patients showed improvement in a post-class evaluation, surpassing the program's improvement goal by 22%. In North Carolina, the Charlotte Community Health Clinic has strengthened the connection between the clinic and patients referred to the ER, resulting in patients using the emergency room 47% less than they did prior to becoming CCHC patients. And, 47% of patients of The Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Worcester, Mass., who identify as smokers participated in a smoking cessation program.

The CVS Health Foundation also awarded new grants as a continuation of these community health partnerships. Together with the School-Based Health Alliance and the "New Directions for School-Based Health Care" program, grantees will expand access to medical care, support innovative technology use and provide smoking cessation programs. Grants awarded in partnership with the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics will focus on providing primary care services to underserved populations. And, grants awarded in partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers and the "Innovations in Community Health" program will support the development of innovative, community-based programs that focus on the treatment and management of chronic illnesses, the Foundation stated.

This year, NACHC is also celebrating 50 years since the establishment of America's first community health centers and their success in expanding access to quality and affordable primary and preventive health care services to millions of uninsured and medically underserved people nationwide.


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