BD (NYSE:BDX) this week announced that it committed $500,000 to improve the quality of care and reduce health inequities in the U.S.
Franklin Lakes, N.J.-based BD will award health-focused relief organization Americares $250,000 annually for the next two years to support a multi-year project that will collect demographic and patient health outcome data from free and charitable clinics nationwide.
“We know that racial and ethnic groups in the United States experience worse health outcomes for certain conditions and are statistically more likely to face barriers that make it more difficult to access quality care,” BD CEO and president Tom Polen said in a news release. “Investing in the health of our communities is a pillar of the BD environmental, social and governance strategy. By supporting this important, first-of-its-kind initiative, we’re helping to empower U.S. free and charitable clinics to measure and track the degree to which their health care services are effectively addressing these inequities, and determine where additional support is needed to ensure more equitable health care quality and access for all.”
Americares launched its Roadmap to Health Equity initiative in 2017 in partnership with the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics and Loyola University in Chicago.
“Achieving health equity—care that does not vary in quality because of someone’s race, gender, income, abilities, or location—requires a multi-faceted approach,” Americares VP of U.S. Programs Edith Lee said. “It requires the ability to collect and analyze data to determine if there are differing health outcomes for different groups. It requires deeper learning and understanding of health equity and the factors that influence health outcomes. It requires developing strategies and tools to address these factors that influence health outcomes. Thanks to the generous support of BD, we can continue and expand this ground-breaking effort.”
Through its health equity project, Americares supports safety net clinics across the U.S. It has provided more than $200 million in medicine, supplies, education and training annually to a network of nearly 1,000 partner clinics across the country.
More than 2 million low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients rely on free and charitable clinics for their healthcare, according to Americares. Free clinics often rely on volunteers and private donations to sustain operations.
“The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics was built on the fundamental premise that health care is a right and not a privilege. As an organization, we value human dignity, access to quality, compassionate health care and health equity,” NAFC president and CEO Nicole Lamoureux said. “We are grateful that BD has made such a strong commitment to the Roadmap to Health Equity Initiative, our clinics and our patients. The company’s support will allow dozens of more free clinics to participate in the project over the next two years.”