Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City Selects KCALSI to Manage Grants Program Designed to Improve Area Health Care
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For Release Aug. 9, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute (KCALSI) today announced it would manage a research grants program for the largest health insurance provider in the Kansas City area.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City has contracted with KCALSI to manage its “Blue KC Health Outcomes Research Grants” program which will provide two $50,000 grants to area physicians and researchers working to improve health-care access, the quality of health care, and the quality of life in the greater Kansas City community.

“Health outcomes research studies the results of patient care and helps the medical community better understand how to provide that care in the most effective and efficient ways,” said Dr. Dan Getman, president of KCALSI.  “These grants are an important tool in improving the quality of health care.”

Dr. Blake Williamson, vice president and chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, said the grants would address health-care issues such as childhood obesity, diabetes and patient safety that present significant risk factors in the Kansas City community.

“In keeping with our goal of a healthier community, we’re focusing on the health issues where we can make a difference,” Williamson said.  “Health outcomes research emphasizes the solutions which will immediately improve care for our members and the Kansas City community.  These grants help area physicians and researchers who strive to improve health care for all of us.”

According to Williamson, there are numerous advantages to KCALSI managing the research grants program on behalf of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.  KCALSI’s review process employs rigorous and standardized national practices similar to those used by the National Institute of Health (NIH).  Experts in those fields related to each specific project will review the proposals, and all grant applicants, regardless of whether their proposals were selected for funding, will receive written review comments.

“KCALSI’s peer review process is a very effective addition to our existing research program.  This will help to identify those proposals with the top scientific and technical merit for our consideration,” Williamson said.  The board of directors of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City will continue to make final grant decisions.

The Blue KC Health Outcomes Research Grants will begin in September.  Additional information, including eligibility, review criteria and application procedures, will be released at that time through the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute website atwww.kclifesciences.org.

Since its inception, the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute has managed a variety of individual grants for area corporations and trusts under KCALSI’s Research Development Grants program.  The program includes proposal review and evaluation by experts in the specific scientific field, written reviews for all applicants, and post-award management that includes project tracking and reporting.  From 2006 to 2010, KCALSI’s Research Development Grants program managed 40 grants totaling $1.4 million.  These seed grants have enabled area researchers to successfully compete for $10.3 million in additional funding and publish nearly 40 articles in medical and scientific journals.

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For More Information, Contact: Dr. Keith Gary, KCALSI director of program development, (816) 753-7700.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in the state and the only not-for-profit health insurer in Kansas City, has been part of the Kansas City community since 1938.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City provides health coverage services to nearly one million residents in the greater Kansas City area and Northwest Missouri.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  For more information on our company, visit our website at www.BlueKC.com.  Our mission statement: We will use our role as the area’s leading health insurer to provide affordable access to healthcare and to improve the health and wellness of our members.

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