$150,000 Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation Grant Supporting Personalized Cancer Resources Throughout New York City

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American Cancer Society program connects newly diagnosed to needed services

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February 7, 2013 
Media Contacts: 
 
Sally Kweskin,
Empire BlueCross BlueShield
(720) 373-4836
sally.kweskin@empireblue.com
 
@Empirebcbs on Twitter 
Andrew Becker
American Cancer Society
212-237-3899
Andrew.Becker@cancer.org
 
 
 
New York, NY – February 7th, 2013 – Empire BlueCross Blue Shield today announced that additional resources to help cancer patients are in New York thanks to a $150,000 grant from its corporate foundation to the American Cancer Society. The funds are supporting the statewide expansion of the American Cancer Society’s Patient Navigator Program, as well as assisting in the creation of a Patient Navigator Center of Excellence. 
"After someone is told they have cancer, they often don’t know what their next steps should be," said Roshini George, national vice president of health promotions for the American Cancer Society. "The Patient Navigator Program is designed to help those newly diagnosed patients and their caregivers by providing personal guidance and increased access to resources and support." 
The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program creates one-on-one relationships between newly diagnosed patients and trained patient navigators, who provide information, support, and personal guidance throughout a cancer experience. Patient Navigators are available to help patients and their families face the psychological, emotional, and financial challenges that cancer can bring. The service is free and confidential, and places an emphasis on assisting medically underserved populations. 
Funding for the Center of Excellence is supporting a special training and operating group within the American Cancer Society dedicated to addressing the unique needs of cancer patients from a wide range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. 
“The American Cancer Society offers outstanding programs and services to all those affected by cancer,” said Brian Griffin, President and CEO, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “The American Cancer Society’s Patient Navigators are experts at understanding how to link patients and their families with the services and information they need. They bring everything together in a one-stop-shop fashion of way that helps to ease the stress of navigating the health care system so cancer patients can focus on getting better.” 
To use the Patient Navigator Program or get information about other available services, individuals should call the American Cancer Society at toll-free 1-800-ACS-2345
The American Cancer Society launched its Patient Navigator Program in 2005 in collaboration with community-based hospitals and cancer centers to decrease the fragmentation of cancer treatment services and increase access to cancer treatment among uninsured and underserved individuals. Through the program, the Society has placed trained staff in 134 hospitals and treatment centers across the country, as well as in centralized call centers serving large regions to assist cancer patients as they begin treatment.  
“We are tremendously proud to be able to help the American Cancer Society strengthen the Patient Navigator Program in the New York metropolitan area and to support their work to create a Center of Excellence that will take this program to the next level,” said Griffin.  
Support for the New York program is part of a larger, $1.5 million commitment from Empire BlueCross BlueShield’s parent company foundation supporting 17 Patient Navigator programs in 14 states. 
Through its State Health Index – a state-by-state compilation of public health measures – and Healthy Generations grant program, Empire BlueCross BlueShield and its foundation work to identify the health issues most in need of attention and direct charitable support and volunteer efforts toward improving those areas. Expanding access to cancer care and information is a focus of the foundation. 
“We are grateful for the continued support of the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation which is helping make a positive difference and providing support for cancer patients when they need it most,” George said.  

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