Guided by a commitment to improving access to better healthcare in the U.S., the GE Foundation’s DH US program is designed to improve clinical practice in community health centers across the country.
Chronic disease management is a key need given the prevalence and effects of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses. The GE Foundation funds programs that seek to better manage these and other healthcare issues.
GE Cities Program –Community Health Center Grant Funding
GE Foundation’s grant-based funding and CHC partnerships increase access to primary care in 22 cities where GE operates. Our partners are primarily federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and are selected based on their leadership, accountability, community impact and interest in collaborating with the GE Foundation. Chronic disease management has been a particular focus—through our programs, we have reached over 2.4 million patients.
Health Choice Network – Care Management Medical Home Center for Diabetes Care
The GE Foundation’s grant to the Care Management Medical Home Center (CMMHC) established a cost-effective care model to improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of care. Online records help patients better manage their diabetes and allow staff to monitor the disease with improved analytics.
The grant is coordinated by Health Choice Network of Florida (HCNFL) and aims to reverse the devastating impact of diabetes among 10,000 Miami-Dade County residents.
Keep Your Heart Healthy – Chicago
The prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major public health problem in Chicago. The disease is the leading cause of death in a city where 30% of the population has high blood pressure. Each year, 25% of all deaths in Chicago are caused by CVD.
Strengthening our partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health, Northwestern University and local community organizations, the GE Foundation’s grant to the city of Chicago will fund the screening of 50,000 residents for cardiovascular disease by the end of 2016. The grant will initially fund programs in four community-based organizations (CBOs) in North Lawndale, Humboldt Park, Douglas and South Chicago, expanding to 12 communities by the end of 2016. This grant builds on the success of the community-health-worker intervention-model program that the GE Foundation implemented in 2012.
Million Hearts Program
Currently, 65% of people with diabetes die from some form of heart disease or stroke. Better hypertension management is a solution on which the GE Foundation has focused. The Million Hearts Program is a national initiative launched by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2011 that aims to prevent 1million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years.
We have partnered with Westat, a research corporation, and the American Society of Hypertension to roll out the program across our partner health centers. Together, we have developed a six-month self-monitoring blood pressure intervention study for hypertensive patients and are encouraging other health centers to join the program. Over 2,600 study participants from more than 40 partner community health centers have joined, and we are collaborating with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to analyze the dataset and publish the impact.
In order to have a sustainable impact in our communities, GE Foundation’s DH US program aims to build capacity in health centers across the U.S. The GE Foundation does this through its most important resource—its people, who transfer GE expertise and provide skills-based volunteerism to health facilities so that they can grow in the future and achieve improved health results for their patients.
GE Cities Program – Skills-Based Volunteering
Unique to the DH US program is the GE Foundation’s skills-based volunteering, which aims to build capacity in community health centers (CHCs) by driving operational efficiencies. Local teams of employee volunteers in 22 GE Cities have given over 420,000 volunteer hours to CHCs by providing skills-based support and business best-practices that tackle issues specific to each community and complement the important work being done by health center staff.
Using GE skills, local DH US teams have successfully reduced patient wait time by over 60% in Milwaukee and reduced the patient no-show rate by 50% in Cincinnati. In Greenville, GE’s Hispanic Forum helped develop bilingual tools to facilitate interaction between front-line staff and patients. All DH US cities collectively have provided over 100 leadership trainings, reaching more than 2,200 health center employees. Many teams have provided Six Sigma and LEAN training to health center staff, who have shared their skills with others in their organizations.
Primary Care Leadership Program
The GE Foundation’s partnership with National Medical Fellowships (NMF) is a major step forward in expanding access to primary care. We work together to grow the pipeline of U.S. health professionals through our Primary Care Leadership Program (PCLP), which was launched in 2012.
PCLP provides medical, nursing and physician-assistant students with opportunities to examine, first-hand, primary healthcare in targeted areas of the U.S. The idea is that this insight and experience will inspire students to practice in underserved communities, ultimately developing a cadre of primary healthcare professionals who work in these regions.
Students get a holistic view of primary care service delivery within the community health center context through a “service-learning” rotation that enhances students’ training by combining leadership training, site-specific projects and clinical experience. Students are also taught by skilled GE employee-volunteers who transfer knowledge and expertise to students while providing distance-learning sessions on LEAN Quality processes and the Change Acceleration Process, a framework and toolkit for successfully implementing change within an organization.
We have seen strong support from stakeholders, with 98% of scholars reporting that the program met their expectations, and 93% of the 2012 graduates have since chosen primary care as their specialty. In the next two years, the goal is to expose 300 scholars to primary healthcare in underserved communities in 14 cities and 28 health centers.
GE-NHMA Health Professional Student Leadership and Mentoring Program
Fifty talented Hispanic medical and public health students were selected to participate in a one-year GE-NHMA Health Professional Student Leadership and Mentoring Program funded by the GE Foundation. In partnership with the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) and the National Hispanic Health Foundation (NHHF), the GE Foundation has developed a mentoring program that aims to increase the number of Hispanic physicians and public health professionals in primary care.
AmeriCares – U.S. Medical Assistance Program
In 2010, the GE Foundation and AmeriCares, the nation’s largest provider of donated medical aid to those in need in the U.S., began planning to develop a national network of free clinics that would provide primary care services to more than 2 million of the nation’s neediest patients. Consequently, we have seen dramatic increases in the number of free clinics that AmeriCares serves, and medicine and supplies that they provide for low-income, uninsured people in the U.S. have tripled. Last year alone, AmeriCares provided $84 million in prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies for patients in need.
In 2014, the GE Foundation provided a capacity-building grant to support AmeriCares’ efforts to further expand the network of clinics they serve, improve both the quantity and quality of medical aid they distribute and provide targeted resources and tools to enhance the quality of care at free clinics. The funding also enables AmeriCares to survey free clinics nationwide on the impact of healthcare reform and introduce new programs for patients diagnosed with depression and pre-diabetes.
The GE Foundation also worked with AmeriCares to build an online ordering system that cut order processing time by 78%. This partnership also launched SafetyNetCenter.org, an information-sharing portal with how-to guides, patient educational materials and other capacity-building resources to support free clinics.
The Immunization Partnership – Houston
Funding given to the Immunization Partnership in Houston has allowed community health centers to implement processes that better capture patient data and develop operational processes to improve immunization rates. The program’s ultimate goal is to prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases by raising immunization rates in the Houston area. Each community health center is equipped with and trained on the tools and technology to sustain the program so they can proactively manage the risks of acquiring vaccine-preventable diseases in their patient populations.
Developing Health Leadership Network
The Developing Heath Leadership Network allows our partner health centers to exchange ideas and discuss challenges with each other. They share expertise on clinical and operating practices and have access to thought leaders and GE subject-matter experts.
The knowledge sharing occurs through distance-learning seminars as well as an annual leadership summit that is hosted in collaboration with the National Association of Community Health Centers conference. Topics include addressing no-show rates, recruiting and employee development, HR practices and employee engagement, and integrating behavioral care with primary care services.
The GE Foundation strives to provide opportunities for those in need and to help people lead better lives. Getting people back on their feet is work that the GE Foundation is proud to do. Therefore, in times of disaster, GE employees want to do one thing: help. That is why the disaster relief efforts supported by the GE Foundation are a cornerstone of GE’s community impact globally.
To help those in urgent need, the GE Foundation responds as a partner in disaster response and readiness. We proactively communicate our disaster-relief approach to GE employees, who are always ready to help. Matched 1:1 by the GE Foundation, employees donate to disaster relief organizations such as the International Red Cross, American Red Cross and UNICEF. On the ground, GE volunteers also contribute through networks at the disaster site, organizing local support and aligning GE employees in the region.
The GE Foundation also uses all of its resources to help, donating products to address needs caused by natural disasters. After the earthquake in Haiti, we donated solar-powered water-purification units, anesthesia, ventilators, portable ultrasounds, monitors and analog and mobile digital X-rays. A GE Foundation grant to AmeriCares has helped to handle increased volumes of donated medicine and supplies, strengthened delivery through network expansion and IT enhancements and relieved key capacity constraints for free clinics through more-efficient access to resources. The GE Foundation has also provided support for longer-term housing, physical and mental health services, food banks and local economic recovery in hard-hit communities.
The GE Foundation recognizes the big impact that simple interventions can have. By equipping health centers with the tools they need to function efficiently and better using data and technology, the GE Foundation is enabling improvements in the quality of service that health centers provide, as well as in health outcomes for patients.
Recognizing that the absence of adequate behavioral health services has serious consequences for both mental and physical well-being, the GE Foundation gave the ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) Institute $4.6 million to fund a three-year pilot, Project ECHO, that will integrate mental health and substance abuse treatment into primary care.
Project ECHO is an innovative initiative that dramatically improves both the capacity of and the access to specialty care for rural and underserved populations. This low-cost, high-impact intervention is accomplished by linking expert inter-disciplinary specialist teams with primary care clinicians through teleECHO™ clinics. Here, experts co-manage patient cases and share their expertise via mentoring, guidance, feedback and instruction. Primary care clinicians develop the necessary skills and knowledge to treat patients with common, complex diseases in their own communities, reducing travel costs, wait times and avoidable complications. A unique feature of the model is its use of community health workers, who provide support to every patient receiving behavioral health services. They learn from each other, building a network and sharing best practices.
The ECHO model™ is a guided-practice model in which the primary care clinician is responsible for managing the patient, operating with increasing independence as the clinician’s skills and self-efficacy grow. If the pilot proves successful, it will spread beyond the eight community health centers that participate in the project to other Project ECHO sites across the country.
American Heart Association ‘The Guideline Advantage’ program
Over the next two years, the GE Foundation will work on the prevention and early detection of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes by supporting the implementation of The Guideline Advantage program within Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). The Guideline Advantage is the latest initiative of the Preventive Health Partnership, a collaboration of the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
The program equips health centers with data on health indicators to ensure accurate diagnosis and provides best practice protocols to improve patient care.