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Nearly $33,000 In Recent Blue Ribbon Foundation Grants Help Provide Immunizations For the Region’s Un/Underinsured

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By: Anthony Matrisciano
August 11, 2011

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

August 11, 2011, Wilkes-Barre, PA —August marks National Immunization Awareness Month, and The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) is funding programs that are making preventive health care, such as immunizations, available to at-risk individuals and families across northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.

 “According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, vaccines offer safe and effective protection from infectious diseases,” said Leo M. Hartz, MD, MHM, Interim Chief Medical Officer for BCNEPA.  “By staying up-to-date on the recommended vaccines, individuals of all ages can protect themselves, their families and friends, and their communities from serious, life-threatening infections.” 

In the past year, The Blue Ribbon Foundation has awarded four grants totaling $33,000 to regional nonprofits for programs that will provide preventive health services to 295 at-risk families and more than 1,000 un/underinsured individuals.  

A $10,000 grant from The Foundation is helping Maternal and Family Health Services provide preventive health outreach to low-income families in Luzerne County through the Nurse-Family Partnership program. Participants in the program receive weekly or bi-weekly home visits from an RN to help ensure a safe, healthy pregnancy, healthy birth weight deliveries, and quality care-giving for the child during the first year after birth, including recommended immunizations. 

One local mother that benefited from the Nurse-Family Partnership program is Tiffany Bromack of Luzerne.  

“This is a great program for first-time moms who may not have a role model,” said Bromack.  “My role model is my nurse Debbie, and I know she’ll be there for me to help me set a solid foundation for my son, Jaden.  Debbie has been with me throughout my pregnancy and taught me about nutrition, answered all my questions and prepared me for a healthy delivery.  Because of the Nurse Family Partnership program, I have the confidence to be a good mother.” 

Last year, Pennsylvania state budget cuts eliminated the agency’s ability to purchase educational materials for new families entering the program.

 “The grant from The Blue Ribbon Foundation helped us fill that funding gap and provide young mothers with the educational materials they need to help them make the right choices.,” said Kathleen Krivenko, supervisor, Nurse Family Partnership Program.  “Our program takes a very hands-on approach, helping mothers make better choices for the health and well-being of their children.Without support from The Blue Ribbon Foundation, we wouldn’t be able to do that as successfully.” 

The Foundation’s funding helped Maternal and Family Health Services provide educational materials to 200 new at-risk families in the Nurse-Family Partnership program. 

“The Blue Ribbon Foundation is making a difference in the lives of area families by supporting evidence-based education and outreach initiatives that promote the importance of basic health care, including immunizations,” said Cynthia A. Yevich, The Foundation’s executive director.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 550,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations we serve. 

BCNEPA established its private, nonprofit Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2002 to invest in health education and prevention initiatives that produce measurable health improvements and help manage long-term health costs for the residents of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.

Media Contact:
Anthony Matrisciano