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Press release from PR Newswire

$1.5 Million WellPoint Foundation Grant Helps American Cancer Society Expand Patient Navigation Program in 14 States

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

$1.5 Million WellPoint Foundation Grant Helps American Cancer Society Expand Patient Navigation Program in 14 States11:04 EDT Wednesday, November 02, 2011INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Navigating the health care system can sometimes be a daunting task in and of itself. Couple that with a cancer diagnosis and it's easy for one to become overwhelmed. But thanks to a grant announced today by the American Cancer Society and WellPoint, cancer patients and their families will have access to new and expanded resources and information in their time of need."Once someone gets the diagnosis, they invariably will ask, 'What do I do now?'" said Terry Music, chief mission delivery officer, American Cancer Society. "This program is designed to help newly diagnosed cancer patients and caregivers receive personal guidance and increased access to resources and support."The WellPoint Foundation has committed $1.5 million to the American Cancer Society to expand its Patient Navigation Program. The grant will help fund 17 programs in 14 states over the next two years.The American Cancer Society Patient Navigation 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.The grant continues a relationship that started in 2009 when the WellPoint Foundation provided $1 million to fund expansions of both the Patient Navigation Program and Hope Lodge, the Society's nationwide network that provides free temporary home-like lodging for people receiving cancer treatment far from home. "We are grateful for the continued generous support of the WellPoint Foundation, and are pleased that this grant will enable us to reach so many more patients with the crucial support of our Patient Navigation Program," added Ms. Music. "One of the most important things a patient navigator does is to understand the mission delivery services offered by the American Cancer Society and to link patients with the services they need," said Music. "While the patient typically has face-to-face contact with only the navigator, there are many people working with the navigator to provide services, such as the patient advocate, dietitian and transportation specialist. They are all critical components of the assistance patients receive. The navigator is a one-stop resource to bring them all together for the patient." The American Cancer Society launched its Patient Navigation 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.  "The American Cancer Society's Patient Navigation Program is making a real difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families across the United States," said Lance Chrisman, executive director of the WellPoint Foundation.  "This grant will enable them to further expand their services and help even more patients.  We're thrilled to support their wonderful work."  The new WellPoint Foundation grant will enable the American Cancer Society to expand services in several states, and open a number of new program sites. Highlights of the grant include full or partial funding for:two new Patient Navigator sites in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Nevada and Ohio;one new Patient Navigator site in Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Virginia and Wisconsin;statewide expansion of services in New York and Indiana; and support for nine existing sites in Georgia. "A cancer diagnosis is the beginning of a journey," said Sam Nussbaum, M.D., WellPoint's Chief Medical Officer. "By helping individuals and families better understand their treatment options, optimal care and community resources, the American Cancer Society is making a difference in the fight against cancer.  We are honored to be partnering with the American Cancer Society to improve cancer care in our nation." About the WellPoint FoundationThe WellPoint Foundation is the philanthropic arm of WellPoint, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of WellPoint, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that WellPoint, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates' campaign pledges. To learn more about the WellPoint Foundation, please visit www.wellpointfoundation.org.About WellPoint, Inc. WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our members and our communities, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is one of the nation's largest health benefits companies, with 34 million members in its affiliated health plans, and a total of more than 66 million individuals served through its subsidiaries. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, WellPoint's plans do business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at http://www.wellpoint.com. About the American Cancer Society The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation's largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.SOURCE WellPointFor further information: WellPoint Foundation, Scott Larrivee, +1-262-523-4746, or American Cancer Society, Andrew Becker, +1-212-237-3899