News | February 25, 2008

BSCF Backs Commitment to Patient Health, Safety with $13.1 Million Grants

February 26, 2008 – Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF) will award $13.1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and programs aimed at improving the quality of patient care through health technology, and to expand health insurance for children who do not qualify for public programs.

Of the $13.1 million, $5.75 million will be used to expand the foundation’s groundbreaking program aimed at dramatically reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). After seeing remarkable success in its nine-hospital pilot project, BSCF will use the grant announced today to expand its innovative California Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Initiative (CHAIPI) to at least 100 hospitals.

“Hospital-acquired infections put lives at risk and increase consumer costs. We want to dramatically reduce those risks by ensuring hospitals have access to innovative new technologies that help pinpoint and stop the spread of infections,” said Crystal Hayling, president and CEO of BSCF. “Given the results we saw in our test program, we expect the broad expansion of this effort to mean 4,000 fewer patients will contract an HAI in the next year, which translates into 30,000 fewer patient days in the hospital, $60 million in avoided costs to patients and hospitals, and nearly $15 million in bottom-line hospital savings.”

In California, an estimated 150,000 patients suffer from HAIs annually, 9,000 of which result in death. Through CHAIPI, participating hospitals will receive support for new technology and collaborative learning opportunities about best practices. While only not-for-profit hospitals can receive funding, this grant is reportedly unique because for-profit hospitals are invited to participate in the collaborative learning sessions, and will have the opportunity to purchase the technology at a reduced price.

“We look forward to taking CHAIPI to scale because it has the potential to alleviate untold human suffering and save millions of dollars in unnecessary costs, both for patients and our healthcare system,” Hayling said.

Other health and technology grants include:
- $350,000 to the California Health Foundation and Trust to expand its telemedicine program by increasing the number of telemedicine providers and offering technical assistance to those in the field. .
- $115,000 to the California Society of Thoracic Surgeons to study complications of open heart surgery, and to build a single source of clinical data on which to assess and replicate best practices to improve cardiac surgical outcomes.
- $105,000 to the California Children’s Hospital Association for an initiative to reduce catheter-associated and other infections acquired in neonatal intensive care units.

Additional grant announcements are aimed at ensuring low-income children have access to healthcare, and include:
- Up to $6 million in grantmaking (with specific grants to be announced later this year) to fund health insurance premiums through the end of this year for 7,000 children, ages 6 to 18, who are currently enrolled in the Healthy Kids insurance program in 19 California counties.
- $559,260 to provide subsidies for 400 new children and maintain coverage for 900 children enrolled in the CaliforniaKids program, which provides insurance for outpatient services.

Blue Shield of California Foundation is one of the largest healthcare grantmaking organizations in California.
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