Twenty-two private physicians' groups in 21 communities were awarded $2.2 million to develop new approaches for delivering medical care to the nation's underserved, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced last week.
Project Reach Out is a new national program supported by the Princeton, N.J.-based healthcare philanthropy and administered by Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, R.I. During the next four years, the program will provide a total of $14 million in funding to physicians serving 50 communities nationwide.
Even if universal insurance coverage is enacted, there always will be Americans who have difficulty obtaining access to health services, said Steven A. Schroeder, M.D., the foundation's president. Vulnerable populations include people without health insurance or Medicaid, the physically disabled or mentally ill, people with AIDS, certain high-risk adolescents, and the homeless.
Reach Out grants will be used by organizations representing private physicians to expand their roles in caring for the underserved. The grants can be used for additional staff, such as telephone operators to answer referral lines, as well as phone lines, computers and other equipment.
The grantees are encouraged to work with other providers and community organizations, such as hospitals, health departments and social service organizations.
Project grantees received as much as $100,000 each for a year of planning work. They may be eligible for three-year grants averaging $200,000 to implement their programs.
A second round of planning grants will be announced by early October.