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Press Release

Independence Blue Cross Launches $10 Million Foundation

New organization to focus on transforming health care in the Philadelphia region

Philadelphia, PA - October 6, 2011 - Independence Blue Cross (IBC) today announced the creation of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation which is committed to transforming health care through innovation in the Philadelphia region. With an initial commitment of $10 million to fund the work of the foundation, IBC continues its 73-year commitment to southeastern Pennsylvania through the new nonprofit which will focus its expertise and resources on the region's health care challenges.

IBC President and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty announced the launch of the Foundation during IBC's Nurses for Tomorrow Forum held at WHYY headquarters on Independence Mall. The foundation targets three areas: caring for our community's most vulnerable, leading innovative approaches to health care, and developing the health care workforce of the future with an intense focus on nursing education.

"It is with great pride and enthusiasm that we announce the launch of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation," said Daniel J. Hilferty, IBC president and CEO. "Building upon our deep commitment to our community, the foundation is poised to build healthier communities and spur innovation. By caring for the most vulnerable people in our community, enhancing the quality of health care for all, and supporting groundbreaking innovations in health care, the foundation will help drive change in health care in our region for generations to come."

Hilferty was joined at the foundation launch by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who praised IBC's continued commitment to the region and leadership role in addressing the region's health care challenges. Drexel University President John Fry also spoke at the foundation launch event, highlighting IBC's long partnership with Drexel and support of the university's nursing program and nonprofit community health center located in north Philadelphia. Also in attendance was Beverly Malone, CEO of the National League for Nursing, who praised IBC for its continued support of nursing education.

Hilferty also announced that IBC Vice President Community Affairs Lorina Marshall-Blake has been appointed president of the IBC Foundation. Close to 200 national nursing leaders attended today's conference which set out to explore critical issues in nursing.

Caring for the most vulnerable

The new foundation will focus on caring for the most vulnerable in the Philadelphia region which will involve two initiatives: helping the uninsured get quality health care and supporting seniors and their caregivers. The newly created Blue Safety Net will provide $2 million in grants in 2011 to private, nonprofit health clinics that deliver quality, cost-effective care to people who are uninsured and underinsured who would otherwise face financial, cultural, and linguistic barriers to obtaining health care. Today, IBC announced foundation grants totaling $1 million to 15 clinics serving 70,000 patients in all five counties in the region. In 2012, the IBC Foundation will work with area leaders to identify innovative ways to support the growing number of seniors and their caregivers in the five-county area.

Enhancing health care delivery

The second area of impact for the IBC Foundation is directed at enhancing health care delivery and will focus on developing the health care workforce needed for the future as our health care system dramatically changes through health care reform. Initially, this work will concentrate on strengthening the nursing workforce in our region through a new $1.5 million initiative called Nurses for Tomorrow.

Nurses for Tomorrow will increase quality of care in our region by increasing the supply of nurses and nurse educators through $1 million in scholarships awarded through 27 undergraduate nursing programs and all 12 graduate nursing programs in the Philadelphia region. Today, the IBC Foundation announced grants totaling $1 million.

In addition, Nurses for Tomorrow will support the creation of three fellowships over the next two years to drive innovation in nursing education. It will also establish continuing education for nursing deans, nurse educators, and administrators and support the development of a web-based resource for all area nursing schools, tapping in to IBC's deep knowledge base within its workforce to educate nursing leaders, faculty, students, and other stakeholders on managed health care, reform, and other critical issues.

Starting with today's nursing forum, the Nurses for Tomorrow initiative will also regularly convene nursing leaders to discuss current nursing trends and challenges, gaps in care, and develop solutions often through partnerships.

"The IBC Foundation's work with clinics and nursing will build upon two areas where IBC has great passion, experience and an established track record of successful partnerships that have delivered results. Even so, there continues to be great need for community leadership and support in these areas," said foundation President Marshall-Blake. "In the last six years, IBC has contributed nearly $15 million to help support 36 private, nonprofit health clinics that serve nearly 120,000 patients and provide 400,000 visits annually in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. In that same period, IBC contributed nearly $11 million, helping 15,000 students graduate from 31 nursing programs in southeastern Pennsylvania. Today's announcement will extend that track record and reinforce our commitment to the next generation of these important health and wellness initiatives."

Leading innovative approaches to health care

Through the third focus, leading innovative approaches to health care, the foundation will drive meaningful and lasting change in our region's health care by leveraging IBC's thought-leadership, relationships, and strong community presence to support new and creative solutions that can reduce health care spending, improve quality, and expand access to care.

To that end, Hilferty announced that the foundation is launching a new Innovation Grant program that will provide $1 million to support projects and research that significantly advance the practice and delivery of health care. The IBC Foundation's first Innovation Grant was awarded to the National Nursing Centers Consortium to enable area non-profit clinics to effectively use electronic medical records to provide more efficient, enhanced, and safer patient care.

The foundation website is now accepting applications for Innovation Grants at Potential applicants are encouraged to visit the site to review the grant criteria and submission process.

About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.1 million people. For 73 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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