Shannon awarded $265K grant to help fight chronic kidney disease

Local News

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) announced today that Shannon Medical Center has been awarded a nearly $265,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® (HKHF) grant to help raise awareness around the prevention and early detection of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in the San Angelo community.

The grant, awarded following an extensive evaluation process, is part of BCBSTX’s $1.8 million statewide community investment strategy to battle CKD as well as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – two conditions greatly impacting the life span, productivity and quality of life of Texans. Ten other statewide community-based organizations were awarded HKHF grants.

“Our new community investment strategy requires collaborations with organizations that have proven results reaching the populations that we want to impact with our new initiative,” said Dr. Dan McCoy, president, BCBSTX. “Our claims data, relative to CKD and COPD, informs us that we have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of thousands of Texans. We are honored to partner with these outstanding organizations on this important initiative.”

This year, the HKHF initiative received numerous applications from organizations across the state. Each application was vetted on the basis of impact, feasibility, capacity, collaboration and sustainability. Grant recipients share BCBSTX’s goal of early detection of COPD and CKD (end stage renal disease) to help slow the progression of the two chronic diseases.

Shannon Medical Center is collaborating with Angelo State University, La Esperanza Clinics, San Angelo Community Medical Center and the San Angelo Health Foundation to implement a health prevention program through the BCBSTX Healthy Kids, Healthy Families Initiative. The coalition of entities plans to address health and wellness in the San Angelo community by implementing strategies that focus on nutrition, physical activity and disease management.

The purpose of this program is to provide education and additional services to engage members of the community in adopting healthy behaviors to prevent and manage Chronic Kidney Disease. “On behalf of Shannon, we are very grateful to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas for recognizing the availability of resources and partnerships to collaborate in the development of this health prevention program in our community,” said Shane Plymell, CEO at Shannon Medical Center. “As we gradually see a shift to emphasize education and resources on prevention, this is an opportunity to provide education with support and resources to be more proactive with our health and lifestyle choices. We look forward to this opportunity to come together with these entities to truly make an impact on the overall health of our community.”

“Today, we are thrilled to receive the support of Blue Cross Blue Shield in the effort to realize our collaborative community plan,” said Kenneth L. Stewart, PhD, professor of Sociology and director of Community Development Initiatives at Angelo State University. “As a leading provider of health insurance in the region, Blue Cross Blue Shield shares an understanding of the unimaginable human toll that serious diseases like diabetes and kidney disease will take if unchecked by strong and effective prevention.”

Angelo State University’s Community Development Initiatives worked with organizations across the Concho Valley to conduct a comprehensive health needs assessment focused on the regional population in poverty in 2015. That study, based on direct interviews with area residents, found that the prevalence of kidney disease among low income individuals in Tom Green County and surrounding Concho Valley communities is more than twice as high as it is among the overall adult population.

The study found a similar difference for the prevalence of diabetes, which is one of the main drivers of kidney disease. As a result, each of the represented entities came together to begin assessing programs, resources and areas of need in the community. “This partnership is a true collaboration with the health of our Concho Valley citizens being the benefactors,” said Buddy Daniels, CEO at San Angelo Community Medical Center. “A win-win Agreement is defined as when both sides find benefit if a goal is achieved. We believe this partnership is a win for all organizations, and especially the health of our citizens.”

The investment is part of BCBSTX’s ongoing commitment to improve health and wellness across populations that most need it, as well as effecting sustained behavioral changes that lead to better health outcomes for all Texans.

“In deciding on this year’s awardees, we landed on organizations that have demonstrated success in executing programs that move the needle against CKD and COPD,” said Dr. Esteban López, chief medical officer, BCBSTX. “I am confident that we will be able to make a measurable difference in improving the health of Texans with our new investment strategy targeting these two chronic diseases.”

Launched in 2011, HKHF started as a three-year initiative designed to improve the health and wellness of at least one million children through community investments. The program was extended as BCBSTX’s ongoing commitment to the health and well-being of the children and families across Texas.

To date, the HKHF program – which centers on nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management and supporting safe environments – has impacted the lives of millions of Texas children. Since the program’s inception, BCBSTX has awarded more than $8.8 million in HKHF grants.

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