The Urban League of Philadelphia’s Empowerment Week Gala serves to celebrate diversity in the corporate community and award college scholarships.
Fifty scholarships worth more than $100,000 will be awarded during the gala held May 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market St. Ten years ago, ULP initiated its Community Scholarship Program by awarding six college scholarships totaling $12,000 at its annual gala.
“Our theme this year for Empowerment Week is strengthening the Economy through Empowering Partnerships. Nowhere is this theme more evident than in our Community Scholarship Program,” said Patricia A. Coulter, president and chief executive officer of ULP.
“All of our scholarships are donated by private individuals affiliated with our organization, our board members, Affinity Group members and our corporate sponsors. What can do more to empower our community and strengthen our economy than supporting our young people in the quest for higher education?”
ULP board chair Robert Keyes challenged his fellow board members to raise $100,000 this year — and they responded by exceeding that amount and easily surpassing last year’s total of $70,000.
“The scholarships are my passion, and that passion is contagious. I commend all of our board members and friends who contributed these scholarships,” Keyes said. “All of the scholarship winners will attend the gala and will meet the person who donated the scholarship face-to-face. This is a very touching moment.”
During the event, ULP will present PECO with the Vision Award, Union Packaging of Yeadon with the Spirit of Innovation Award and Michael Rashid, president and CEO of Amerihealth Mercy, with the inaugural Power of Diversity Leadership Award.
The ULP’s Vision Award is presented annually to a company that has a strong corporate tradition of diversity. PECO, the Philadelphia region’s supplier of gas and electricity, is known for its support of diversity throughout the organization.
Pearson, president of Union Packaging, will accept the Spirit of Innovation Award, given to an African American-owned company. Union Packaging, based in Yeadon, produces environmentally-friendly packaging for fast-food chains, including McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s.
Rashid has led Amerihealth Mercy from being a local HMO serving Medicaid recipients to becoming a national force, providing health care for the country’s underserved population. His Diamond in the Rough program has enabled hundreds of enthusiastic but under-educated employees to succeed in their jobs and continue their education.
The gala will be hosted by NBC 10 anchor Lori Wilson.
The gala is the culmination of a week of activities including an Empowerment Week kickoff celebration held May 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Hyatt Regency Penn’s Landing, 201 South Columbus Blvd.
The evening features a small business showcase. Curtis Gregory of the city’s Commerce Department will moderate a panel discussion titled, “So You Think You Want to Run Your Own Business.”
Panel members, including caterer David Simms, Yvette Mitchell and this year’s Spirit of Innovation honoree Michael Pearson, will offer insights on building a business from the ground up. The evening will conclude with a social hour.
A jobs summit will be held May 15 at Drexel University, Bossone Research Center, 3140 Market St. where ULP’s partner companies will empower 200 pre-registered job hunters and set them on the road to economic strength. Companies will discuss employment opportunities at the opening session.
Afterwards, participants will attend one or more of the breakout sessions. Sessions will focus on the ULP’s Connect to Work program; the status of the current job market; and professional development, including presentation and networking skills.
A youth employment day will be held May 16 at South Philadelphia High School. This event connects participants in the 2012 Urban Leadership Forum class will connect with 9th- and 12th-graders from South Philly High to engage them on matters pertaining to college preparation and future careers.
A Sweet Scoop of Community Empowerment Day will be held May 17 from noon to 12:30 p.m. at Bassetts Ice Cream Stand, Reading Terminal Market, 45 North 12th St.
Coulter will join Mayor Nutter and other community leaders at the PBJ Celebrity Scoop sponsored by the Philadelphia Business Journal with proceeds donated to Habitat for Humanity. Bassetts, the nation’s oldest ice cream maker, created this limited edition Peanut Butter and Jelly flavor to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Philadelphia Business Journal.
ARAMARK is the lead sponsor for the 2012 Empowerment Week lineup.
The second annual Philadelphia Tribune’s Christopher J. Perry/Carter G. Woodson Black History Awards Luncheon served as both a notable learning experience and networking opportunity for the 400 guests this week at the venerable Union League. Daniel J. Hilferty Jr., President/CEO, Independence Blue Cross and Michael A. Rashid, president/CEO, AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies co-hosted the informative program covering key points in Philadelphia's African-American history.
The Philadelphia Tribune was established in 1884 by Christopher J. Perry (1854-1920), a pioneering Black businessman who championed racial equality. The Tribune is recognized as the oldest continuously published African American newspaper in the nation.
Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson (1875–1950) launched Negro History Week in 1926 as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of Black people throughout American history. Since 1976, the week has expanded to Black History Month.
“We celebrate the 103rd anniversary of the NAACP, the 107th anniversary of Bright Hope Baptist Church, the 100th anniversary of the Seventh Day Adventists at 15th and Christian Streets and the 128th anniversary of The Philadelphia Tribune,” said Robert W. Bogle, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Tribune.
“Black History Month, which started out as a week, and is now a month and I'd like to suggest that every day is a Black history day in Philadelphia and in the United States of America,” remarked Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Let us never forget our past, nor the expectation of a glorious future ahead of us for African Americans.”
Founded during the Civil War in 1862, the Union League's mission was to highlight the policies of Abraham Lincoln. During the latter decades of the 20th century, the League resolved its issues with minorities and women, and now boasts a diverse membership. It was a matter that keynote speaker speaker, H. Patrick Swygert, President Emeritus Howard University, recalled from his boyhood days in the city. “Kater Street was not six and a half blocks from Lincoln Hall here in the Union League, it was a universe away, because the idea and the notion that we might have the opportunity to meet today to enjoy each other's company and celebrate what is good about this great nation was unthinkable when I was a youngster in South Philadelphia,” said Swygert.
“The honorees today have made significant history, not only in our city, but in the nation,” said Rashid as Bogle presented History Makers Awards Episcopal Reverend Canon Thomas W. S. Logan, Pulitzer prize winning newspaper columnist Acel Moore and Radio One co-founder Cathy Hughes.
Father Logan, who is just weeks away from his 100th birthday, demonstrated his longevity when he spoke of horse drawn buggies circling City Hall. Moore reflected his longtime news roots: “Being able to live some of the history that has been announced today is significant. In the past few weeks, though, there have been some history makers that have gone too soon, from Fatimah Ali, to Whitney Houston, to others not as well know but to many of us as equally precious.” A visibly touched Hughes credited the Delaware Valley region as an important start to her career. “I'm grateful,” said Hughes as she held her award. “I'm honored. I live in DC, but I'm a Philadelphia girl.”
AmeriHealth Mercy Health Plan, a member of the AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies, has been chosen by Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to provide m Medicaid managed care and services to Medicaid beneficiaries in 30 additional counties in northwestern and northeastern Pennsylvania.
This is part of the expansion of “HealthChoices,” DPW’s mandatory Medicaid managed care program for Medical Assistance recipients.
The growth comes as part of two separate agreements with DPW, and will result in AmeriHealth serving Medicaid recipients in 48 of the state’s 67 counties. In both expansion areas, it will provide covered physical health, dental and vision services with a focus on improving quality outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries.
AmeriHealth was one of four health plans chosen to serve Medicaid beneficiaries in the expanded HealthChoices “New West” zone. The northwest expansion, scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1, will cover Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Mercer, McKean, Potter, Venango and Warren counties. Services in these counties will be administered by AmeriHealth, based in Harrisburg, and led by executive director Marge Angello.
“We have provided leading care management services to Medicaid beneficiaries and other low-income populations in Pennsylvania for nearly 30 years,” said Michael A. Rashid, president and chief executive officer of AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies.
“We look forward to working with providers, community partners and the state to improve access to quality health care for the underserved in northwestern Pennsylvania.”
Services in the northeast expansion will be administered by AmeriHealth Northeast, LLC, a new joint venture between AmeriHealth and Hospital Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania (HAS). AmeriHealth Northeast was one of three health plans chosen to serve Medicaid beneficiaries in the expanded HealthChoices “New East” zone.
This expansion, scheduled to take effect on March 1, 2013, will cover Bradford, Carbon, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne and Wyoming counties. AmeriHealth Northeast will also be based in Harrisburg and will be led by Angello.
AmeriHealth currently provides Medicaid managed care services to Medicaid beneficiaries in Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe and Pike counties. With this new business win, Medicaid beneficiaries in these counties will be served by AmeriHealth Northeast, also effective March 1, 2013.
“HSA has a deep understanding of the communities in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania, and a strong history of providing access to quality health care to the residents of that region for nearly 75 years,” said Rashid.
“We look forward to working with providers, community partners, the state and HSA to make a positive difference in the lives of the underserved.”
AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies is owned by Independence Blue Cross and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies, a national leader in Medicaid managed care, has changed its name to AmeriHealth Caritas.
“Caritas” is Latin for “charity” and embodies the 30-year legacy of caring that AmeriHealth has established in several states and communities across the country.
AmeriHealth Caritas is a majority-owned subsidiary of Independence Blue Cross; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan holds a minority interest.
“AmeriHealth Caritas’ legacy of caring – which is captured in its new name – led to its becoming a nationally respected expert in care management in government-funded programs,” said Dan Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross, which serves seven million people nationwide.
“Consider the proof: as a result of AmeriHealth Caritas’ passion for serving the hard-to-reach and chronically ill, membership increased by almost one-third in the past 15 months.”
AmeriHealth Caritas began as Mercy Health Plan in West Philadelphia in 1982 to meet the growing need for quality care for the underserved, many of whom turned to emergency rooms as their primary source of care.
Today, AmeriHealth Caritas is an experienced leader in government-funded programs, operating in 13 states and serving more than 4.7 million Medicaid, Medicare and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) members through its integrated Medicaid managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management services, behavioral health services and other administrative services.
“Care is at the heart of our work. Our mission-focused approach to care management has helped to improve the lives of Medicaid beneficiaries living in urban and rural communities across the nation for 30 years. Our exciting new name heralds a new era of caring for our company,” said Michael A. Rashid, president and CEO of AmeriHealth Caritas.
AmeriHealth Caritas officials said its integrated, outcomes-based, compassionate approach to care has helped beneficiaries better manage their chronic illnesses while providing states with attractive solutions for providing access to quality health care for their underserved populations.
As a result, more states are turning to AmeriHealth Caritas for government-funded health care solutions. Since January 2012, AmeriHealth Caritas doubled the number of states in which it serves Medicaid full-risk members to six and saw its Medicaid full-risk membership increase by 28 percent.
The company won new business as part of the expansion of Pennsylvania’s HealthChoices program and now serves 53 of the state’s 67 counties.
In October 2012, the company was approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to offer Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) to dual-eligible beneficiaries in select counties in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. The company launched two Medicare D-SNP plans in Pennsylvania and one in South Carolina. All three plans began enrolling new members on January 1. D-SNPs are Medicare Advantage plans for dual-eligibles, or individuals whose combination of income, health status and age makes them eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. There are approximately nine million dual-eligibles in the United States.
The company has also announced that Keystone Mercy Health Plan, the largest Medical Assistance product in Southeastern Pennsylvania is now Keystone First.
The new product name is the result of the change in ownership announced in August 2011, in which Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan joined Independence Blue Cross as co-owner of this Medical Assistance program.
“We have worked very closely with our community, provider and faith-based partners to ensure access to critical health care services for Philadelphia’s underserved and chronically ill for more than 30 years. While our name has changed, our legacy of caring and commitment has not. In fact, it is stronger than ever. We welcome this new era of service and dedication to this vibrant region we call home.” Russell Gianforcaro, executive director for the Keystone First product.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth has more than 30 years of experience in serving low-income and chronically ill populations.
The Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) announced AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies (AMFC) will assume operations of DC Chartered Health Plan, Inc. in May.
As a part of the agreement to assume operations of DC Chartered, AMFC will oversee processing of all outstanding claims with a date of service prior to May 1, but will not assume financial responsibility. AMFC will identify claims that should have been paid by DC Chartered, and report those results to the DHCF.
On March 1, a judge approved the sale of some assets of DC Chartered Health Plan Inc., the city’s largest Medicaid insurer, to AMFC.
“We have been helping people get care, stay well and build healthy communities for 30 years. It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to work closely with community organizations and providers to meet the health care needs of the underserved and chronically-ill living in this vibrant community. The associates of DC Chartered Health Plan have done an outstanding job in delivering high-quality care and I could not be more pleased that our missions are so closely aligned as we move forward together,” said AMFC President and CEO Michael A. Rashid.
“Additionally, this is a great opportunity for the D.C. community to have access to the innovative programs and services AmeriHealth District of Columbia offers. With our strong reputation in Medicaid managed care, we will work hard to ensure continuity for our members and providers.”
AMFC operates in 13 states and serves more than 4.7 million Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP members through its Medicaid managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management services, behavioral health services and other administrative services.
DHCF is the District’s State Medicaid agency and spends more than $600 million on its managed care program, which provides health care for approximately 165,000 Medicaid and Alliance beneficiaries.
Masjidullah is expanding its tentacles in Northwest Philadelphia now that the ink has dried on the deed of their new facility. Through a joint initiative between the mosque, United Bank and other community partners Masjidullah purchased the West Oak Lane Church of God building recently. The property, originally a Jewish synagogue, is located at the corner of Washington Lane and Limekiln Pike.
Masjidullah paused from the renovations at their new house of worship to hold a pre-Ramadan banquet recently. This event, like the purchase of the West Oak Lane property, embraced the entire Northwest Philadelphia area and cut across religious lines in the predominantly African American neighborhood. The evening’s honoree was the Rev. Alyn Waller, senior pastor of the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, located at 2300 W. Cheltenham Ave. just minutes away form Masjidullah’s new home.
“We are really moving beyond labels like I am Muslim and you are Christian,” said Michael Rashid, who has became a Masjidullah member when he relocated to Philadelphia 16 years ago. “We have to. When the school district was closing schools they didn’t ask if students were Muslim or Christian. When our children are going to prison it doesn’t matter if some are Muslim and others are Christian. There are issues we must all address.
“Northwest Philadelphia, until now, has not had much interaction. That’s why we were excited that Rev. Waller accepted our invitation. He was not there to convert us and we were not there to convert him. He may have converted some because by the end of his speech clapping and chanting, ‘Preach, Black man, preach,’” Rashid said.
Imam Mikal Shabazz, who serves the mosque in a role comparable to a Christian church’s senior pastor, said there is much excitement as West Oak Lane gains not only a new house of worship, but a new day care center, school and community center. He said they are targeting the campus to be completed by the fall. They will then rent out the current Masjidullah building located at 7700 Ogontz Ave.
The renovations for the $1 million building are costly. The recent pre-Ramadan fundraiser did raise $90,000 towards that bill. Both Rashid and Shabazz felt that donations raised at the gala exceeded their expectations. In fact they even had an overflow crowd of more than 700 at 3801 Market St. Some came in from Washington, D.C. Baltimore, New Jersey, Maryland and other parts of Pennsylvania.
“We will now be able to have the capacity to do programs we could not do before,” Shabazz said. “We do plan to continue to work with people of faith in the community. We know that as an Abrahamic faith we have much in common with our Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters. We want this to be a place that exemplifies that, and a place we can all come together to form alliances to address issues that concern the community.”
Rashid concurred. He said that he is looking forward to Masjidullah having an expanded role in working cooperatively with public, charter and independent schools in the Northwest as well. “I think one of our biggest roles will be is being of service to the kids because we believe in education first,” Rashid said.
Michael A. Rashid, president and CEO of AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies, has been appointed to the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The appointment was made by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and will run through Feb. 28, 2017. The council advises, assists and makes recommendations to Sebelius, the director of the NIH and the director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities on matters related to the activities carried out by, and policies regarding, their respective organizations.
“It is an honor to be given this special opportunity to help address an important health care challenge for the nation,” said Rashid.
“I look forward to working with Secretary Sebelius and other government officials to make quality health care more accessible to everyone.”
Rashid has been a senior executive with AmeriHealth Caritas since 1995, becoming president and CEO in January 2010. During this time, ACFC has grown from 300,000 members in two states to more than 4.8 million members in 15 states and the District of Columbia. During his four decades in health care, Rashid has also led Federally Qualified Health Centers, health plans and other organizations dedicated to making quality health care accessible for all.
In addition, Rashid is chairman of Medicaid Health Plans of America’s (MHPA) board of directors. MHPA is the leading national organization solely dedicated to representing health plans participating in Medicaid managed care.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth Caritas operates in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and serves more than 4.8 million Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP members through its integrated managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management services, behavioral health services and other administrative services.
After positioning AmeriHealth Caritas as a national leader in providing health care solutions for those in need, Michael Rashid is retiring as the company’ president and CEO.
Rashid, who has been with the company for almost 20 years, will serve as special advisor to IBC President and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty through year’s end.
“This company has grown tremendously since we’ve been here. We’ve been able to touch millions of people over that period of time,” said Rashid, 66, who joined the organization in 1994.
“The base has grown tremendously. We’ve done a lot of good work. I think that at this point in my life it’s time to move on and do something else.”
Rashid joined the organization in 1994 and has led AmeriHealth Caritas since 2010. He was instrumental in developing three new product lines and expanding the number of members served from 300,000 in two states to nearly five million in 15 states. The company has grown from 500 to 4,000 associates over the years.
Last September, Rashid’s leadership in the Medicaid managed care industry was recognized by the White House. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appointed Rashid to the National Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health.
Paul A. Tufano, Independence Blue Cross executive vice president and chairman of the board of AmeriHealth Caritas, has been appointed CEO of the company effective March 31.
“It’s going to be a very smooth transition from my leadership to Paul Tufano’s leadership,” Rashid said. “I think that I can leave here very comfortably with the knowledge that what we have built will only continue and probably grow even faster under Paul’s leadership.”
Tufano said he’s excited to follow in Rashid’s footsteps.
“Michael has a lot to do with why the company is literally one of the best Medicaid companies in America,” he said. “He’s just been a great advocate for the underserved and I would say he has really spearheaded the growth of the company in the recent years in developing different products and offerings and diversifying the company. I have been really privileged to work closely with Michael and his team and I think we’re positioned to take the company to the next level.”
Tufano joined IBC in 1999 as senior vice president and general counsel. In 2010, he was promoted to executive vice president and received additional responsibility as president of government markets, overseeing the company’s interests in Medicare, CHIP and Special Care that serve more than 200,000 consumers.
In 2011, he assumed responsibility for public affairs, which includes government and community affairs, as well as the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. At that time, his role also expanded further to include chairman of the board for AmeriHealth Caritas.
Before joining IBC, he was general counsel of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Gov. Tom Ridge and was a member of both the governor’s cabinet and senior staff.
“I had the pleasure of working with Michael as my partner at AmeriHealth Caritas for many years,” Hilferty said. “His counsel was invaluable and his commitment unwavering. I’ve admired how he’s guided the company through this time of tremendous growth.
“I am personally grateful for Michael’s service and excited about the future of AmeriHealth Caritas under Paul’s direction,” he added.
Rashid said he has not decided what his next move will be.
“My whole life has been speaking out and advocating on behalf of the underserved and I would like to be able to continue to do that in some way, shape, form or fashion,” he said.