Through our collaboration with 43 private, non-profit community health centers, over 200,000 Pennsylvania residents received quality, affordable medical and dental care in 2013.

Application Timeframe

May 19 — June 27, 2014

Blue Safety Net

Strengthening the Health Care Safety Net

Blue Safety Net grants are awarded by the Independence Blue Cross Foundation (IBC Foundation) to nonprofit, privately funded community health centers that provide free or affordable care to medically underserved people in our local communities.

We have a long-standing commitment to investing in community health centers. In 2013, we awarded grants to 43 non-profit, private community health centers that provide health services in medically underserved areas in southeastern Pennsylvania. Since the Blue Safety Net program was implemented in 2011, over $7 million has been awarded to community health centers that represent a variety of models including Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), FQHC-lookalikes, free clinics, and hospital system affiliates.

In addition, the Blue Safety Net program strengthens the entire health care system by supporting health centers that:

  • increase access to care in medically underserved communities
  • improve patient coordination and communication among community health centers
  • develop innovative approaches that achieve sustainability
  • promote projects that address specific health care gaps and obstacles to care

Increasing Access to Quality Health Services

Community health centers serve as the primary source of care for many uninsured and underinsured individuals, and are often the only viable option available to these patients. Without these centers, individuals are forced to rely on expensive emergency room visits as their primary source of medical care, increasing the cost of health care for everyone. By providing less expensive and more practical alternatives to the emergency room, Blue Safety Net-supported community health centers help save our region nearly $12 million in health care costs annually.

Community Health Centers and the Affordable Care Act

As the Affordable Care Act (ACA) law expands health insurance coverage to over 30 million people, community health centers will continue to play a pivotal role in expanding access to quality health care in underserved communities. However, health centers will be challenged to maintain viable staffing and resources while managing an increase in patient volume, often coupled with serious health conditions that have gone untreated. Additionally, community health centers will serve those who are not eligible for health insurance under the ACA, such as the Pennsylvania working poor, who make too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to qualify for subsidies under the ACA.