Excellus teams up with nonprofits to make health care accessible and equal

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. The mission is to make health care accessible and equal for everyone. To help solve this problem, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has teamed up with several local non-profit organizations in the greater Rochester area.

It’s not surprising that the underserved members of our community oftentimes have a lower quality of health care and poorer outcomes. The groups are working to help lead people to a healthier lifestyle.

“It is critical that we ensure that everyone has an opportunity to have optimal health, and this is one way that we can contribute to that,” said Dr. Gina Cuyler.

She’s the Vice President of Health Equity and Community Investments for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and says when it comes to disparities in health care, we all pay the price.

“Whether we talk about the costs to a family, cost to our health care system, cost to our employers in terms of untapped productivity, or excess medical costs,” said Cuyler. “We recognize that there’s a cost.”

To help offset those costs, last year Excellus picked several local non-profit groups and gave them thousands of dollars in funding through its award grant program. One such group is BIPOC PEEEEEEK, which is using its share of the money to continue working on breaking the stigma of Mental Health.

“What we’re trying to do is get people to talk about the stigma of mental health, and then make it more comfortable just like your child, if your child had diabetes or cancer,” said Gail Berkes, Senior Navigation Coordinator.

The money provided by Excellus has been used for other efforts that address racial, gender, language, and other disparities that are typically found in Black and Brown communities. The National Witness Project, which specializes in women’s health issues, is using its funds to get its feet in the door.

“It can be hard to get into different communities without the assistance of larger organizations like Excellus, and so it provides us the funding to be able to go out to these communities so that there’s no costs to our recipients,” said the organization’s Johnecia Green. “So the community doesn’t have to pay for anything that we do.”

According to Excellus, these non-profit groups received up to $30K to use for their Health and Wellness Programs.