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Press Release

GE, Chicago Department of Health Commissioner and Area Non-Profits Celebrate Efforts to Increase Access to Primary Health Care for Underserved Communities

September 26, 2012

GE's Developing Health Program Provides Grant Money and Skilled Volunteers to Help Area Non-Profits Expand their Reach

CHICAGO -- Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair gathered with employees and leadership from GE today at Howard Brown Health Center to celebrate the accomplishments of five non-profit organizations and the efforts of several outstanding volunteers one year into a two-year, $1.25 million grant program awarded by the GE Foundation in 2011.

"We applaud GE for making this commitment to Chicago and to the communities most in need of better access to health care," said Dr. Choucair. "These grant funds --- and the GE volunteers working in these non-profits across the city --- provide us with a great example of how our Public Health agenda, Healthy Chicago, can be accomplished when we work together to make Chicago a healthier place for all residents."

GE's Developing Health Chicago program was launched in June 2011 by the GE Foundation --- the company's philanthropic organization --- with five $250,000 grants to Chicagoland medical centers: Alivio Medical Center, Aunt Martha's Youth Service Center-Carpentersville, Heartland Health Center, Howard Brown Health Center, and Near North Health Service Corporation.

"This program and the volunteers supporting it are a living example of GE's commitment to changing the world's approach to healthcare by touching more lives and improving the quality of care for all," said Peter Muniz, managing director of Chicago business development and general counsel of GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance. "We are proud of the work being done by our Developing Health partners here in Chicago, and look forward to seeing more results in the upcoming year."

In addition to these grant funds, presented in two installments over two years, the program includes skill-sharing by local GE volunteers. Complementing the financial donation, this unique approach ensures that the health centers also benefit from GE's core competencies, including process improvement and business management, based on the needs of each clinic.

"As GE grows its presence in Chicago, adding 1,000 jobs over the next several years, we are also increasing our volunteer support throughout the city," continued Muniz. "We have many skilled employees who want to give back throughout the Windy City and this program is one way to recognize the great work they are doing through Developing Health."

"We would like to express our appreciation to the GE employees who volunteered their time at Aunt Martha's in May. GE volunteers got down to work and, by the end of the day, they had given a fresh new look to the center by planting flowers and weeding, power washing the building exterior, painting, cleaning the carpets, organizing the basement supply areas and more," said Kelly Anoe, business administrator at Aunt Martha's. "It was a beautiful day and a fantastic event, with so much positive energy. Many of our patients have commented on how much nicer our facility looks."

Today's celebration marked a successful first year of the Developing Health Chicago program, and in addition to volunteer recognition, the five medical centers were able to report on success stories made possible through GE funds and volunteers. Over the last year:

  • Alivio Medical Center, a bilingual, bicultural organization committed to providing access to quality cost-effective health care for the Latino community, the uninsured and underinsured, as well as other cultures and races, used the grant funds to run its OYE! Obesity Youth Education and Intervention program. OYE! is a 12-week weight management program that works to provide participants with health education and increased physical activity. Wave I of the program included seven youths and their families. All but one of the children exhibited body mass index (BMI) reductions at the end of the program. Wave II of the program, currently underway, is working with 13 youths and their families.
  • Aunt Martha's Youth Service Center used the grant funds to target residents in the community surrounding the Carpentersville Community Health Center. Aunt Martha's 17 community health centers provide primary care, dental care, behavior health and women's health care services. At least two educational workshops per month, 16 in total, have been presented at schools, churches, community fairs and other venues since January 2012. In addition, the center has provided case management services to 500 patients.
  • Heartland Health Centers works to provide accessible, high-quality health care to the communities it serves. The Developing Health grant funds were used to support a preventative care outreach program and health education activities. Heartland hired a case manager and added case management services that didn't previously exist but that now support 148 patients. A portion of the funds was also used to add another pediatrician and AmeriCorps member to Heartland's staff. As a result, pediatric encounters increased from 1,076 to 4,416 last year at Heartland Health Center - Wilson.
  • Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC), one of the nation's largest health care and research organizations, primarily serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. GE grant funds were used to support HBHC's Life Cycle program, which consists of four groups of services --- women's, pediatrics (a new addition), support and geriatric. The grant enabled HBHC to apply for patient-centered medical home status and additional Medicaid funding. Since July 2011, HBHC has provided care to 641 women or transgender individuals and 631 seniors; in addition, 329 women or transgender individuals have received patient navigation services.
  • Near North Health Service Corporation (NNHSC), one of the largest providers of community-based primary care in Chicago, had a goal of increasing access to healthcare for individuals without a medical home who inappropriately self-refer to the emergency room for care. Working with Northwestern Memorial Hospital to ensure that the proper level of care is being delivered and sustainable care is available to patients, NNHSC received 181 referred patients from Northwestern, potentially saving more than $216,000 in healthcare costs.

About Developing Health
Developing Health™ is the GE Foundation's program aimed at increasing access to health care in targeted underserved communities across the country. The program, now in partnership with 85 community health centers in 25 U.S. cities, combines grant funding and employee volunteer engagement designed to offer direct health center support and system capacity building.

The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the General Electric Company, works to solve some of the world's most difficult problems. In coordination with its partners, it supports U.S. and international education, developing health globally, the environment, public policy, human rights and disaster relief. In addition, the GE Foundation supports GE employee and retiree giving and involvement in GE communities around the world. In 2011, the entire GE family --- including businesses, employees, retirees and the GE Foundation --- contributed more than an estimated $198 million in cash, products, and services to charitable organizations around the world. For more information, visit www.gefoundation.com.

About GE
GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com.

Lisa Tibbitts
GE Capital
[email protected]
+1 203 956 4582
+1 203-803-6142


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