A Diagnostics & Imaing Week

Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF; San Francisco) reported the award of $7.7 million in grants to 17 nonprofits across California. Of that, nearly $2.7 million will be used to support the healthcare safety net and catalyze health reform efforts, $4 million to improve patient care through health technology, and $1 million toward ending domestic violence.

"We are making significant investments to support innovation across California that improves lives by strengthening the safety net, improving healthcare quality, and reducing teen dating violence," Crystal Hayling, BSCF president/CEO, said of the grants.

Highlights of the awards include:

$1.8 million to the University of California, San Francisco to implement the second year of BSCF's signature program – the Clinic Leadership Institute (CLI) – in which up to 50 emerging community clinic leaders will be trained in leadership and management skills. Community and free clinics are the backbone of California's healthcare safety net, serving more than 6.6 million uninsured and underinsured persons annually.

$1.5 million to the California Health Care Safety Net Institute, an Oakland-based research and education resource for public hospitals, to develop and implement a model program for e-prescribing in four public hospitals. Electronic transmittal of prescriptions (e-RX) is believed to result in the delivery of safer, more efficient patient care by avoiding adverse drug events and reducing the risk of dispensing the wrong medications.

$1 million to the University of California, Berkeley, to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of one of BSCF's largest initiatives, the California Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Initiative, which now includes 55 hospitals. This groundbreaking project uses state-of-the-art technology and an educational collaborative to reduce the number of healthcare-associated infections. In California, some 150,000 cases occur annually, resulting in about 9,000 deaths.

$324,000 to the California Women's Law Center (Los Angeles) to fund an innovative program that trains rural school districts across California to respond to the epidemic of teen dating violence and sexual abuse.

$550,000 to the Pacific Business Group on Health (San Francisco) to improve care among patients with chronic conditions by providing intensive training and on-site assistance to provider groups in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Another $350,000 will go to Contra Costa Health Services (Martinez) for a new chronic disease management system targeting diabetes, pediatric obesity and mammogram screenings.

The awards are BSCF's third-quarter grants, which bring the foundation's total giving to date for 2008 to almost $30 million. BSCF awarded a total of $29.1 million in grants in 2007.