The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, the philanthropic arm of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, recently announced the launch of a second round of funding to help the state’s volunteer and nonprofit clinics serving populations with limited health care access.
The first round of funding, which began in 2006 and ended in December 2011, provided $5 million in funding over five years to 22 different volunteer, independent and federally qualified health centers across the state.
Jonathan Pearson, deputy director of the foundation, said the second round of funding, which will be two-year grants of $2 million, will connect the foundation’s work to give more people access to health care with other initiatives the company is expanding, like patient-centered medical homes and nurse-centered practices.
“These things are starting to bubble up around the state,” Pearson said. Spokesman Thomas Vincz added that the focus on alternative models is in sync with the parent company’s overall goals.
The first round of funding supported clinics with capital for improvements, as well as diabetes and prescription drug programs. An outside firm evaluated the project and reported that an estimated $70 million annually was saved through emergency department visit avoidance because of these programs.
“That’s $350 (million) over the last five years, and the way we are calculating this, it’s about a 700 percent return on our $5 million initial investment. Outstanding results from our perspective,” Pearson said. “Organizations are now starting to recognize the importance of these centers.”
The second round of funding, which will go through June 2014, will support clinics up to the final implementation stages of the Affordable Care Act. Pearson said the foundation will assess the program as health care reform is enacted, and could extend the funding past the two-year period if appropriate.
The Horizon Foundation has issued a request for proposal from qualified clinics across the state for the second round of funding. Special consideration will be given to patient-centered medical homes and nurse-managed health centers, but Pearson said there is funding available for various models of clinics. The RFP deadline is March 15, and grants will be announced in June. Funding will begin July 1.
The foundation was formed in 2004, and has awarded $24 million through more than 700 grants since its inception.