The global medical technology company, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), has committed $500,000 to improve quality of care and reduce health inequities for patients served by free and charitable clinics across the United States.
The New Jersey-based company will award $250,000 annually for the next two years to the health-focused relief organization Americares to support a multi-year project to collect demographic and patient health outcome data from free and charitable clinics nationwide.
“We know that racial and ethnic groups in the United States experience worse health outcomes for certain conditions and are statistically more likely to face barriers that make it more difficult to access quality care,” said Tom Polen, chairman, CEO and president of BD. “Investing in the health of our communities is a pillar of the BD environmental, social and governance strategy. By supporting this important, first-of-its-kind initiative, we’re helping to empower U.S. free and charitable clinics to measure and track the degree to which their health care services are effectively addressing these inequities, and determine where additional support is needed to ensure more equitable health care quality and access for all.”
Americares launched the Roadmap to Health Equity Initiative in 2017 in partnership with the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics and Loyola University Chicago. The project is the first national effort to collect data measuring the quality of care provided by free and charitable clinics.
“Achieving health equity—care that does not vary in quality because of someone’s race, gender, income, abilities, or location—requires a multi-faceted approach,” said Americares Vice President of U.S. Programs Edith Lee. “It requires the ability to collect and analyze data to determine if there are differing health outcomes for different groups. It requires a deeper learning and understanding of health equity and the factors that influence health outcomes. It requires developing strategies and tools to address these factors that influence health outcomes. Thanks to the generous support of BD, we can continue and expand this ground-breaking effort.”
Across the U.S., more than 2 million low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients rely on free and charitable clinics for their health care. Unlike federally funded clinics, free clinics often rely solely on volunteers and private donations to sustain operations. The clinics are a lifeline for individuals striving to support their families, including the undocumented or foreign-born adults who don’t qualify for government assistance and cannot afford health insurance. Without free and charitable clinics, many patients would utilize emergency rooms for basic health care needs or go without care.
“The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics was built on the fundamental premise that health care is a right and not a privilege. As an organization, we value human dignity, access to quality, compassionate health care and health equity,” said NAFC President and CEO Nicole Lamoureux. “We are grateful that BD has made such a strong commitment to the Roadmap to Health Equity Initiative, our clinics and our patients. The company’s support will allow dozens of more free clinics to participate in the project over the next two years.”
The health equity project is part of Americares work supporting safety net clinics across the United States. Americares provides more than $200 million in medicine, supplies, education and training annually to a network of nearly 1,000 partner clinics nationwide. Americares U.S. Program helps partner clinics increase capacity, provide comprehensive care, improve health outcomes and reduce costs for patients.
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