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July 12, 2014, 6:17 pm

Independence Blue Cross forms foundation

Independence Blue Cross has launched a $10 million foundation geared toward transforming health care in the Philadelphia region.

The IBC Foundation targets three areas: caring for the community’s most vulnerable; leading innovative approaches to health care and developing the health-care workforce of the future with an intense focus on nursing education.

“It is with great pride and enthusiasm that we announce the launch of the IBC Foundation,” said IBC president and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty.

“Building upon our deep commitment to our community, the foundation is poised to build healthier communities and spur innovation. By caring for the most vulnerable people in our community, enhancing the quality of health care for all and supporting groundbreaking innovations in health care, the foundation will help drive change in health care in our region for generations to come.”

The foundation’s creation was announced Thursday afternoon during the launch of IBC’s Nursing For Tomorrow Forum held at WHYY headquarters on Independence Mall.

Lorina Marshall Blake, IBC vice president of community affairs, will head the foundation.

The new foundation will focus on caring for the most vulnerable in the Philadelphia region by helping the uninsured get quality health care and supporting seniors and their caregivers. The newly created Blue Safety Net will provide $2 million in grants in 2011 to private nonprofit clinics that care for the uninsured and underinsured.

IBC announced foundation grants totaling $1 million to 15 clinics serving 70,000 patients in all five counties in the region.

The foundation’s second area of impact is directed at enhancing health-care delivery and will focus on developing the health-care workforce needed for the future. This work will concentrate on strengthening the region’s nursing workforce through a new $1.5 million initiative called Nurses For Tomorrow.

Nurses for Tomorrow will improve the quality of care in the region by increasing the supply of nurses and nurse educators through $1 million in scholarships awarded through 27 undergraduate nursing programs and 12 graduate nursing programs in the Philadelphia region. The Nurses for Tomorrow initiative will support the creation of three fellowships over the next two years to drive innovation in nursing education. The initiative will also establish continued education for nursing deans, nurse educators and administrators and support the development of a web-based resource for all area nursing schools.

“We are very excited about this new foundation and expanding our partnership with IBC ever further,” said Beverly Malone, CEO of the National League for Nursing, who joined IBC officials for the foundation’s launch.

“What can’t be overlooked is that IBC is not only continuing to support nursing education through scholarships, but again is leading the way in a manner no one else has thought to do.”

The foundation is launching a new Innovation Grant program that will provide $1 million to support projects and research that significantly advance the practice and delivery of health care. The foundation’s first Innovation Grant was awarded to the National Nursing Centers Consortium to enable area nonprofit clinics to use electronic medical records to provide more efficient and safer patient care.

The foundation’s website is now accepting applications for Innovation Grants at www.ibxfoundation.org.

Hilferty was joined at the foundation launch by Mayor Michael Nutter and Drexel University President John Fry, who highlighted IBC’s long partnership with Drexel.