The GE Foundation has partnered with AmeriCares since 1989 to increase the effectiveness of our emergency response efforts both in the United States and worldwide and, in the last five years, to drive process improvements and growth in our U.S. Medical Assistance Program. GE staff work alongside us, sharing their knowledge and expertise as we develop and implement changes to build the capacity of our programs and increase their efficiency and effectiveness. The Foundation’s technical support, thought leadership and financial assistance are invaluable to AmeriCares work.
In the U.S., more than 30 million people in the U.S. remain uninsured and millions more underinsured—even after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. GE’s Developing Health program focuses on increasing access to primary care among these underserved populations. AmeriCares U.S. Medical Assistance Program shares this goal. Together we have worked to build AmeriCares network of free and charitable clinics, to increase clinics’ capacities to use donated medicines and supplies, and to enable AmeriCares to effectively and efficiently work with clinics to expand their reach. Since the U.S. Medical Assistance Program’s launch in 2008, AmeriCares has become the largest provider of donated medical aid to the U.S. health care safety net, with a network of more than 750 clinics and health centers in all 50 states. These safety net partners operate nearly 2,000 health facilities and serve 5 million patients per year.
“As a Foundation, we look for areas where we can make meaningful impact,” says Jennifer Edwards, Director, US Developing Health at the GE Foundation. “With millions of people still with little or no access to health care, we need to leverage our resources to strengthen the systems that deliver care.”
GE’s close collaboration with AmeriCares U.S. Medical Assistance team has helped drive process improvements and technology enhancements that increased efficiency and enabled exponential growth in the program. These changes include the introduction of a web-based ordering system, called USAccess, which has cut the processing time for medicines and medical supplies in half and enabled more clinics to easily access the resources they need. GE’s support also enabled AmeriCares to launch a Safety Net Center website to provide relevant clinical information, practice guidelines and educational tools to these under-resourced safety net providers.
The GE Foundation’s recent $2.1 million grant is helping AmeriCares continue to expand these initiatives. Our most recent collaborative efforts in the U.S. have focused on developing disease specific initiatives for diabetes and hypertension. Through data collection and analysis, we will continue working toward our shared vision of high quality care for vulnerable populations.
Internationally, GE’s partnership strengthens our emergency response team’s ability to react to major disasters around the globe with immediate aid and long-term recovery support. Most recently in the Philippines, generators installed in three health facilities that sustained damaged during Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 kept the power on during Typhoon Hagupit, which made landfall just more than one year later. (Typhoon Haiyan is known locally as Yolanda and Typhoon Hagupit as Ruby). At the Abulera Rural Health Clinic alone, a powerful generator donated by GE kept the lights on and medical equipment powered, enabling the safe delivery of 16 babies over the course of two days. These new lives are among the thousands that GE has touched through their support of AmeriCares emergency preparedness, response and recovery efforts in the region following Haiyan. A total of 10 generators were installed in health facilities that were damaged or destroyed by the storm. More broadly, GE’s engagement enabled us to launch a robust immediate response that has served as a platform for our ongoing recovery work—which has included rebuilding more than 70 health facilities.
Among other emergency response support, GE partnered with AmeriCares to construct a 50-bed field hospital near an important regional hospital in Angol, Chile, that was destroyed by an 8.8-magnitude earthquake. This transitional facility provided maternal and child health services for more than two years, enabling women to give birth in their community and avoid a 41-mile journey across difficult terrain to the next closest hospital. In the first six months of operations, the field hospital and its staff served 1,791 patients, delivered 101 babies and treated 295 critical care patients.
The GE Foundation is committed to building a world that works better. It empowers people by helping them build the skills they need to succeed in a global economy, equips communities with the technology and capacity to improve access to better health and education, and elevates ideas that are tackling the world’s toughest challenges to advance economic development and improve lives. The GE Foundation is powered by the generosity and talent of its employees, who have a strong commitment to their communities and who are at work making the world work better. Follow the GE Foundation at www.gefoundation.com and on Twitter at @GE_Foundation