Franklin Lakes-based BD, a global medical technology company, together with the BD Foundation, its charitable affiliate, committed $7.8 million in monetary grants and product donations over the next three years to support the continued expansion of the BD Helping Build Healthy Communities™ initiative – a unique public-private partnership launched in 2013 and implemented jointly by Direct Relief and the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC).
The BD Helping Build Healthy CommunitiesTM initiative issues grants to community health centers that are implementing innovative, successful approaches to providing quality healthcare to underserved populations in the United States. BD has invested nearly $15.7 million in cash and product donations to this initiative since 2013. This newest financial commitment from BD and the BD Foundation will bring their total combined investment to $22.6 million, through the year 2022. This year marks the first time that the BD Foundation – established in 2017 following the company’s acquisition of C. R. Bard, Inc. – has made a financial contribution to this initiative.
Community health centers were launched during the 1960s civil rights movement in the United States and are rooted within medically underserved communities serving close to 30 million patients nationwide. They have a deep history of developing innovative, tailored strategies to support uninsured and underinsured patients in overcoming barriers to care – and have continued to do so even while facing unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients served by community health centers tend to experience greater incidence of diabetes, hypertension, medication non-compliance, and other health issues that serve as risk factors for COVID-19. Without the care provided by these health centers, patients often experience unaddressed medical issues that can have a devastating impact on their health, length of life, and overall cost of care.
“Community health centers have long played an integral role in delivering quality, affordable healthcare to the most vulnerable patients in the United States,” said Tom Polen, CEO and president of BD. “As economic and other burdens caused by COVID-19 make it more challenging than ever for at-risk patients to manage chronic conditions, this initiative aims to provide funding to help health centers expand their healthcare innovations to reach more patients.”
Health centers that have previously earned funding through this initiative have developed and expanded new models for identifying and assisting vulnerable people in managing complex chronic diseases – from diabetes to hypertension to opioid prevention and treatment.
Later this month, BD, the BD Foundation, Direct Relief and NACHC will invite health centers in the U.S. to apply for the initiative’s next round of grant funding. The awards will recognize innovative approaches to delivering medication therapy management (MTM) services, which can enable better chronic disease management among patients who are facing additional challenges and constraints due to the impacts of the COVID pandemic.
“Health centers serve nearly 30 million patients and have a clear and defined mission as the first line of defense against COVID-19,” said Tom Van Coverden, president and CEO at NACHC. “More than 90 percent of health centers have the ability to test for the virus and can care for people who are sick and do not require hospitalization, which reduces the demands – both clinical and financial – on hospitals and emergency rooms. Health centers have also massively pivoted during the pandemic, offering telehealth solutions that allow them to safely screen patients at home. Private funding partnerships like this one are critical to putting their public health innovations into action.”
BD, Direct Relief and NACHC are announcing this renewed, three-year commitment to the BD Helping Build Healthy CommunitiesTM initiative to coincide with 2020 National Health Center Week (August 9 – 15th) – a week of recognition that aims to raise awareness of and public support for health centers for the important role they play in caring for vulnerable populations while saving taxpayer dollars.
“It’s a privilege for Direct Relief to work with NACHC and be part of this extraordinary example of leadership by BD to find, recognize, and award community health centers for improving the health and lives of uninsured and underinsured patients who face challenging health conditions,” said Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief president and CEO. “Collaborations like these provide an additional source of support for the groundbreaking work health centers perform when it comes to reducing chronic disease and promoting wellness in some of America’s most challenged communities.”
On Monday, Aug. 10, Tom Polen will join the CEOs of Direct Relief and NACHC to participate in a virtual bell-ringing event hosted by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to recognize National Community Health Center Week.
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