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Blue Shield of California Foundation Awards $1.8 million to Further Strengthen California's Safety Net & Domestic Violence Providers

San Francisco, CA (March 22, 2016)  –  Blue Shield of California Foundation announced today $1.8 million in first-quarter grants to improve the quality of healthcare and domestic violence services for the most vulnerable Californians. The awards include a continued investment in electronic consultation projects to better provide access to specialists for low-income patients.

Funding for electronic referral (eConsult) programs includes the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LADHS), which received one of the Foundation’s first grants in this area in 2011. The LADHS eConsult system is now processing more than 13,000 electronic referrals per month, connecting primary care providers to more than 470 specialists across the county.

This year, additional funds will be used to study the drivers of effective use of eConsult and identify best practices that incentivize even greater provider participation and engagement, with the ultimate aim of reducing wait times for specialty care, eliminating unnecessary appointments, and improving patient follow-up. Lessons learned from the initial LADHS eConsult program are already being used to inform the development of additional eConsult programs across California’s safety net.

“Through our grantmaking efforts, we seek to sustain, spread, and scale promising and effective ideas that bring California’s safety net closer to a “no wrong door” model of care for low-income patients and survivors of domestic violence,” said Peter Long, PhD, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation.  Long called the Los Angeles effort “a perfect example of how a small, initial investment has been successfully implemented to connect safety-net providers across the second-largest municipal health system in the country.”

The Foundation also announced a new addition to its board of trustees. Katherine Flores, MD joins the Foundation from the University of California-San Francisco’s Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research (LaCMER). There, as Director, Ms. Flores supports disadvantaged students to help prepare them to become healthcare professionals working with the medically underserved in California’s Central Valley. A second announcement includes the appointment of Eliza Daniely-Woolfolk, principal of EDW & Associates, as Board Chair. Her service to the board will be elevated in this new role as she continues to apply her expertise in economic and social development and leadership experience in the domestic violence field to guide trustee decision-making and help ensure that Foundation grants go to their highest and best use on behalf of vulnerable Californians.

A complete list of the Q1 awards can be found here. These grants are the latest in the Foundation’s total commitment of nearly $342 million in philanthropic giving since 2002. 

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About Blue Shield of California Foundation

Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the state's largest and most trusted grantmaking organizations. Our mission is to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. For more information visit: www.blueshieldcafoundation.org.  

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