ge-check_web.jpgMIAMI — The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, has announced a $3 million grant to Health Choice Network of Florida as part of the Company’s Developing Health program. 

This grant will establish a Care Management Medical Home Center for 10,000 Miami-Dade patients suffering from chronic diabetes and its costly and debilitating side effects. This is the largest such donation and marks the two-year anniversary of the U.S. program. 

Developing Health is a multiyear, $50 million program that aims to improve access to primary care in targeted underserved communities across the country. Designed and launched in New York City in October 2009, the program has expanded to 17 cities and has donated a total of $17.25 million, impacting over 650,000 lives. The program aligns with GE’s healthymagination initiative, a commitment to lower costs, improve quality and increase access to healthcare.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of diabetes among adults age 18 and over in Miami-Dade County is 11.4 percent, compared to 8.3 percent in the United States. Miami-Dade leads the state of Florida with the highest number of uninsured people and second highest in percentage — over 600,000 and 30.2 percent, according to the US Census Bureau.

“The GE Foundation has a long history of helping underserved communities, like Miami where the number of people living with diabetes exceeds the national average,” said Jeff Immelt, CEO and chairman, GE. According to the CDC, chronic diseases account for $3 of every $4 spent on health care, reaching nearly $7,900 for every American with a chronic disease. In addition, the CDC reports that chronic diseases are the cause of seven out of every 10 deaths.

“This specific grant to Health Choice Network of Florida will remove barriers that traditionally impede effective treatment of chronic diseases in Miami Dade’s communities by establishing a coordinated, long-term relationship, focused on prevention,” said Bob Corcoran, president, GE Foundation. “Health Choice Network of Florida is a model of successful collaboration among community health centers and its medical home model has emerged as a promising alternative to the nation’s fragmented health system.”

The $3 million grant from the GE Foundation will enable Health Choice Network of Florida and its seven participating health centers to provide a centralized model staffed with medical professionals who will assist the health center teams in providing high quality, effective and efficient care management services that will decrease costly hospitalizations and emergency room visits

“This partnership is a huge step forward for Health Choice Network and its Miami Dade member health centers,” said HCN President and CEO Kevin Kearns. “More important is the beneficial impact this generous funding will create for so many South Florida patients struggling with diabetes.”

Health Choice Network of Florida members serve more than half a million patients at 25 centers across Florida. A majority of the targeted patients have little or no health insurance and receive their primary care at seven federally qualified centers in Miami Dade.

The federally qualified health centers participating in the Care Management Medical Home Center are Borinquen Medical Centers of Miami Dade, Camillus Health Concern, Citrus Health Network, Community Health of South Florida, Helen B. Bentley Family Health Center, Jessie Trice Community Health Center and Miami Beach Community Health Center.

If successful, the effort could expand to include other chronic diseases.

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Photo: COURTESY OF GE FOUNDATION

LARGEST GRANT TO DATE: (L-R) DDS; Community Health of South Florida CEO Brodes H. Hartley Jr.; Citrus Health Network CEO Mario Jardon; Miami Beach Community Health Center CEO Kathryn Abbate; Helen B. Bentley Community Health Center CEO Caleb A. Davis and Health Choice Network of Florida CEO Kevin Kearns.