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Stamford, Conn. – April 24, 2014 – The GE Foundation has awarded AmeriCares $2.1 million to increase aid deliveries to free clinics over the next three years – expanding both the quantity and quality of medicines for uninsured and underinsured Americans. This new investment brings GE Foundation’s support of AmeriCares U.S. work to nearly $3.5 million since 2010.
The funding will allow AmeriCares to expand its U.S. Medical Assistance Program, which provides donated medicines, vaccines and medical supplies to free clinics, community health centers and health departments nationwide. AmeriCares is the nation’s largest provider of donated medical aid to the U.S. health care safety net, last year delivering $70 million in prescription and over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies for patients in need. The donations allow partner clinics to increase capacity, provide comprehensive care, improve health outcomes and reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients. On average, AmeriCares partner clinics receive six shipments annually, valued at $135,000.
AmeriCares has set a goal to increase its network of safety net partners from 635 to 750 by 2016, with an emphasis on adding more free clinics that – unlike federally qualified health centers – are not receiving federal funding through the Affordable Care Act, and are heavily dependent on volunteers, donated services and medical donations. AmeriCares also plans to increase the volume and value of its aid deliveries by 10 percent for each of the next three years. By improving the quantity and quality of medical donations, AmeriCares will help thousands more low-income Americans get the medications they need instead of a prescription they can’t afford to fill.
“Studies show that more than half of uninsured patients with a chronic illness leave at least one prescription unfilled each year due to cost,” said Leslie McGuire, AmeriCares Director of U.S. Partnerships and Programs. “With help from the GE Foundation we are working to prevent heart attacks, strokes and other medical emergencies for low-income Americans, allowing them to live longer, healthier lives.”
In addition to medical donations, AmeriCares supports partner clinics with tools and resources to deliver quality care. Funding from a previous GE Foundation grant enabled AmeriCares to build an online ordering system that has cut order processing time in half, as well as launch Safetynetcenter.org, an information sharing portal with how-to guides and educational materials. Going forward, AmeriCares will use a portion of the new GE Foundation funding to survey free clinics nationwide about the impact of health care reform, as well as introduce new programs for free clinic patients diagnosed with depression and pre-diabetes.
The GE Foundation supports AmeriCares domestic work as part of its Developing Health Program. GE Foundation created Developing Health in 2009 to help increase access to primary care for underserved populations, by fostering partnerships with independent, non-profit community health centers. Developing Health is a multi-year, $50 million program that underscores GE’s healthymagination® commitment to deliver better health to more people at lower cost.
Since the GE Foundation began supporting the U.S. Medical Assistance Program in 2010, AmeriCares has delivered $150 million in medical aid to U.S. safety net partners serving patients in need.