BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation Promotes Innovation in Health Through Catalyst Grants

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Each year, the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation works with organizations to promote and support healthier South Carolinians, particularly the economically vulnerable. In 2019, the Foundation awarded 13 Catalyst Grants to organizations for projects that foster innovation to improve the health and well-being of those throughout the state.

Catalyst Grants awarded to statewide initiatives include:

Children’s Trust of South Carolina — Through its Race Equity and Inclusion Partnership project, the Children’s Trust of South Carolina will develop and promote a list of informed policies and practices to advance race equity and inclusion. Race equity and inclusion is a growing area of interest in public health, with the idea that breaking down barriers from institutional racism will allow individuals opportunities to reach their full potential.

Fact Forward — Will aim to bridge the gap between pediatrics and reproductive health by assembling an expert panel and then convert learning to a work plan to produce professional development opportunities for pediatric providers on adolescent reproductive health, preventing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

SC Alliance of YMCAs — The purpose of this project is to identify the YMCA as an extension of health care services by building partnerships with medical providers as YMCAs expand their delivery system of evidence-based practices for individuals with chronic health conditions.

SC Thrive — The Veteran Coalition Development Grant will develop an action plan to focus and coordinate efforts among veteran-serving organizations (VSOs) across South Carolina through convening VSOs and gathering data to create an action plan for coordinated veteran resources.

United Way Association of South Carolina Inc. — This grant supports the SC Counts Collaborative, a collective effort to increase the number of South Carolina’s "Hard-to-Count" individuals participating in the 2020 Census.

Upstate projects include:

United Way of the Piedmont — The Thriving Families Project will equip six local nonprofit organizations with tools and techniques to introduce, implement and evaluate a new approach of working with clients using behavioral change techniques. This will enable case managers to shift their approach to support clients to reach health and financial goals by recognizing what individual, community and environmental factors influence client behavior, with the aim to shift from rewarding “crisis” behavior to rewarding choices that can help clients progress to better stability for their families.

United Way of Greenwood and Abbeville Counties — Will create a web-based platform that provides easy-to-understand health and quality-of-life indicators for Greenwood County. This system will equip local leaders, including government and hospital officials, to create a coordinated, prevention-based community plan to improve health outcomes while addressing social determinants of health.

South Carolina Office of Rural Health — Through this project, SCORH will engage rural libraries to serve as pilot sites for integration of social work services leading to improved health outcomes for individuals served. This project implements recommendations from the SC Rural Health Action Plan that rural libraries can serve as an access point for health and services.

Faces and Voices of Recovery Greenville — FAVOR Greenville will expand its Emergency Department Overdose Program to include inpatient cases caused by substance use. This program connects economically vulnerable patients to peer recovery coaching during hospitalization rather than as a referral after discharge.

Pee Dee region award recipient:

Healthy Learners — Healthy Learners will conduct one of the first mass health screenings of children in a school district (K-12) in Dillon County. Four types of screenings will be provided at the beginning of the school year: vision, dental, asthma and hearing. Data from this pilot will be used to determine how many children have unmet health care needs that would not be identified without this screening approach, and the replicability of districtwide health screenings in other school districts.

Midlands area award recipients:

American Heart Association Mid-Atlantic Region — Feed SC-Foodscape Exploration in Aiken and Lexington counties will interview food stamp recipients in rural communities to understand their food shopping behaviors and their use of “dollar stores” and other non-traditional food outlets.

Mental Illness Recovery Center, Inc. (MIRCI) — MIRCI will conduct a pilot project with Richland Northeast High School to evaluate the impact of sending clinicians to a high school campus — which is not geographically close to the downtown Youth Drop-In Center or other homeless shelter services — and the impact of this approach in reducing the number of high school dropouts and cases of homelessness. Activities will include providing outreach, behavioral health screenings and connection to treatment for youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

Midlands Housing Alliance — This pilot project will allow Transitions to begin housing medically fragile residents immediately while arranging for them to receive short-term help with their activities of daily living until they are enrolled in Medicaid/Medicare and permanently housed.

“Assisting organizations in developing innovative ideas to improve the health and well-being of the people of South Carolina is important to the Foundation and our core values,” said Erika Kirby, executive director of the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation. “Implementing these pioneering projects in our communities is critical to combating the health issues and disparities that affect our state.”

To learn more about the Foundation and other grant opportunities and initiatives, visit the website.

The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.