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College News

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Donates $1 Million Grant to Create Fisher Prime Care Nursing Center, Increase Opportunities for Nursing Students


Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is donating a total of $1 million over five years to expand primary health care, mental health care, social services, and adult education for Rochester’s underserved populations and to expand educational opportunities for students in St. John Fisher College’s Wegmans School of Nursing. Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, Dean, School of Nursing, was instrumental in securing the grant.

The College will use the money to create the Fisher Prime Care Nursing Center at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center on South Avenue in Rochester. When fully operational, the center will provide new patient, acute, follow-up, and primary care services for up to 60 patients on a weekly basis.

“Providing access to high quality health care for people who need it is a fundamental part of our mission as a non-profit health plan,” said Christopher Booth, president and chief operating officer of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “At the same time, this center will provide valuable training for the nurses who will be caring for all of us in the future.”

As part of the grant, health outcomes will be measured and tracked, with emphasis on following diabetes, cancer screenings, and plans of care around falls, a major issue for elderly patients.

“The grant will provide opportunities for research activities, evaluation of nursing practice, and hands-on training for Fisher’s nursing students as they develop their clinical skills,” said Dr. Donald Bain, president of St. John Fisher College. “We are grateful to Excellus BCBS for the grant, and we look forward to working with Sr. Christine Wagner and her staff at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center.”

“We welcome this opportunity to partner with St. John Fisher College and Excellus BCBS in our advocacy for the uninsured and also in supporting young nursing professionals to reach their highest potential,” said Sr. Christine Wagner, head of the neighborhood center. “This is community collaboration at its best.”

A recent report from Excellus BCBS showed that upstate New York has an uninsured rate of 11.1 percent, compared to a statewide average of 14.6 percent and a national average of 16.1 percent.

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