Blue Shield of California Foundation Awards $11.3 Million to Nonprofits Statewide to Promote Access to Health Care and Health Technology

$7 Million to Fund Community Clinics; Another $1 Million Goes to Rural Health Networks

San Francisco, July 10, 2007 – Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF) today announced grants totaling nearly $11.3 million, including up to $7 million to increase access to health care for uninsured Californians through an initiative that will provide funding to community-based clinics throughout the state. BSCF is also giving nearly $1 million to implement health information exchange programs among rural health networks in Northern California. The grants are part of the Foundation's work to expand access to health care and coverage, promote the use of medical technology to increase the quality of patient care, and end domestic violence.

"Community and free clinics are a critical part of California's healthcare safety net," said Crystal Hayling, President and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. "As we work toward comprehensive health reform, we are committed to helping strengthen our safety net and making health care available for more Californians. Another key element of our strategy is to improve the quality of care by investing in cutting-edge healthcare technology."

Today's grants represent the second quarter of BSCF's 2007 grantmaking, which now totals more than $18 million for the year. In 2006, the Foundation awarded $27.1 million in grants and allocated more than $1 million to additional program activities that support its strategic goals – including public education materials, forums and convenings, and commissioned research.

Highlights from today's grants announcement include:

Up to $7 million to provide core support funding for licensed community and free clinics. Supporting clinics strengthens their capacity to meet the immediate healthcare needs of uninsured Californians. Over 200 clinics throughout California will be invited to apply for this funding.

$1.5 million for AmericaSpeaks to convene a statewide discussion on healthcare reform. Blue Shield of California Foundation is partnering with other statewide health foundations to sponsor a unique forum that will enable the state's leaders to hear directly from thousands of Californians in eight cities about the current health reform proposals. The forums will be held on August 11, 2007.

Nearly $1 million to promote rural healthcare quality through information technology. This innovative program to implement health information exchange strategies will improve patient safety, quality, and access throughout a nine county rural area of Northern California. The counties include Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity.

$500,000 for the New America Foundation to further California's health reform debate through forums, research, publications and convenings. New America Foundation will provide information on healthcare reform ideas to policymakers, stakeholders and the public.

$250,000 to develop a telemedicine project to increase health services for patients living with HIV/AIDS. Through this project, the University of California, San Francisco will develop and test an innovative pilot project utilizing telehealth to expand access to health services and improve health outcomes in partnership with San Francisco's community clinics.

Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the largest health care grant-making organizations in California. For more information, please visit the Web site at The Foundation was formed by Blue Shield of California, a not-for-profit corporation with more than 3.2 million members, 4,300 employees and 20 offices throughout California. For more information about the company, please visit