Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois awards grant for Rosecrance-Crusader project

$50,000 award supports integration of primary care and mental health services

The Rosecrance Foundation has received a $50,000 Community Partners Grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois to enhance a two-year-old collaboration with Crusader Community Health that allows low-income clients of each organization to receive services from both agencies at the same site.

The BCBS Community Partners Grants support innovative direct service programs dedicated to advancing health care in under-served communities in Illinois. The Rosecrance-Crusader grant fulfills objectives of the award program by increasing access to healthcare and decreasing fragmentation of services.

Specifically, Rosecrance has counselors “embedded” at Crusader locations to offer behavioral health care alongside primary care delivered by medical staff at Crusader, a federally qualified health center. Likewise, Crusader has embedded primary care professionals at Rosecrance locations to address the physical needs of mental health clients.

The grant was written specifically to address individuals who have four chronic conditions that are prevalent among people with serious mental illness: diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma. Individuals who suffer from serious mental illness die, on average, 25 years sooner than the general population because they often don’t get appropriate medical care.

“This kind of bi-directional health care is a critical need in our community. This grant will improve access to care to a group of very vulnerable residents who need both primary care and treatment for mental health and substance use disorders,” said Mary Ann Abate, Rosecrance VP for Community Mental Health. “The close relationship between the team at Rosecrance and the team at Crusader is improving the health and quality of life for clients of both agencies. It truly is a model for the nation.”

Opella Ernest, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois added, “We see great value in supporting this clinical endeavor and the enhanced quality of coordinated care that it delivers.”

About Rosecrance
Rosecrance is a private not-for-profit organization offering behavioral health services for children, adolescents, adults and families. Rosecrance provides services in Rockford, Boone and McHenry counties and at six locations in Chicagoland, as well as in Waukesha County, WI. The organization was founded in 1916.

About Crusader Community Health
Crusader Community Health is a community-based non-profit community health center founded in 1972 to serve the Rock River Valley area with quality primary health care for all people in need. Crusader serves patients at locations in Rockford, Belvidere, Freeport and Loves Park.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL)
With 7.6 million members, BCBSIL, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. It is not a publicly-traded company, but is member-owned. Begun in 1936 in Chicago, BCBSIL is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and the communities it serves through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. BCBSIL is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.