FAIRFIELD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than 60 million Americans -- nearly one in five -- lack adequate access to primary care in their communities1. To respond to this challenge in 2009 the GE Foundation launched GE’s Developing Health U.S., a multi-year $50 million program focused on cities where GE has a significant business presence. As of this year, the program has reached more than 30 cities, and includes more than 100 health centers, with a total investment of $37.4 million.
Today, the GE Foundation is further expanding its commitment by partnering with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to launch new pilot programs in Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; Louisville, KY; and Los Angeles, CA. Each pilot program addresses a region-specific health issue such as heart disease and diabetes, childhood immunization, asthma and respiratory disease management, and patient compliance and retention.
“GE recognizes there is a critical need in the U.S. healthcare system and Developing Health seeks to fill the gap in access to quality care for underserved communities. With the help of health centers and key community partners,” said Bob Corcoran, president of GE Foundation, “these grants will help to break down barriers to access and reduce the suffering of families dealing with chronic and too often debilitating disease.”
These pilot programs will address a variety of pressing health issues in under-served regions:
- In Chicago, the program focuses on evidence-based interventions for cardiovascular disease risk. Program interventions will include community-based health screenings, outreach, referrals to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and follow-up and educational programs. The pilot will roll-out in conjunction with LISC Chicago and the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in five health centers. GE Foundation will invest $250,000 over the next 12 months, bringing the Foundation’s total investment in health programs in the Chicago area to $1.5 million.
- In Houston, GE Foundation has collaborated with the Immunization Partnership and Partners for Community Health to launch the Immunization Champions program. This program aims to prevent outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases by raising immunization rates in Houston-based community health clinics. GE Foundation’s investment in the program is $250,000 over two years. This brings the Foundation’s total commitment to the Houston area to $2,625,000 by 2015.
- In partnership with Asthmapolis, GE Foundation is piloting a program in Louisville focused on developing a revolutionary approach to chronic respiratory disease management. The Asthmapolis program will improve quality of care and simultaneously reduce costs by teaching patients proper asthma self-management, through personalized, data-driven feedback and education. Family Health Centers will provide the Asthmapolis asthma inhaler sensor technology and software platform to 150 patients across five centers in the region. The GE Foundation investment in the Asthmapolis program is $107,640 over two years, bringing the total regional investment in Louisville to just over $1.1 million.
- In Los Angeles, GE Foundation is partnering with Community Health Councils, Inc. to implement and integrate patient recall technology at 14 FQHCs in high-need urban communities. As a result, patients will receive automated confirmation services for appointments – and enhanced capacity for rescheduling, streamlining appointment management, improving outcomes by ensuring recommended care is given and received, and maximizing schedules. This pilot marks the first financial investment in Los Angeles-based health centers, totaling $250,000 over two years. In 2012, GE Foundation partnered with six health centers in Los Angeles to place 16 healthcare scholars from the Primary Care Leadership Program (PLCP).
The expansion of Developing Health is building upon the successful work of local GE teams who partner with designated health centers and offer skill-based volunteer support across a broad range of areas, from process improvements and simplification, to marketing programs and leadership coaching. In total, these GE employees have given more than 93,000 hours of their times since the program began.
About the GE Foundation
The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, works to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems. With its partners, the GE Foundation focuses its efforts in the areas of health, education, the environment and disaster relief. In 2011, the GE family invested more than $198 million to global community and educational needs. For more information, visit www.gefoundation.com.
1 National Association of Community Health Centers. March 2009. Primary Care Access: An Essential Building Block of Health Reform.