Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield recently awarded Upstate Family Health Center a Health Equity Award of $30,000 to support their Integrated Behavioral Health, Primary Care and Substance Abuse program. This program brings substance abuse services, behavioral health care, and primary care together to provide a comprehensive plan to effectively treat patients in a stigma free environment.


“Bringing these three important components under one roof enhances patient care,” explains John Milligan, Upstate Family Health Center CEO.  “By providing comprehensive care that includes substance abuse services and behavioral health care in a primary care setting patients are free of the stigma that is often associated with drug treatment centers.”


Upstate Family Health Center (UFHC) is a non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that provides primary care to support the most vulnerable and high-risk residents of the Mohawk Valley. UFHC’s mission is to improve the overall health and well-being of the community by providing accessible, comprehensive, high quality primary care to all people without discrimination and regardless of ability to pay. In 2021, UFHC provided over 25,000 appointments for 7,400 unique individuals.


“Through our work with multiple community partners, as well as our current patient population, it’s clear that there is a need for this type of holistic care in our community,” shares Milligan. “As a barrier free healthcare organization, we treat the most vulnerable members of our community and focus on reaching out to meet the needs of our patients where they are. Led by our compassionate and experienced staff of nurses and physicians, this program will provide greater access to much needed care.”


Excellus BCBS Health Equity Award funding supports underserved populations with health disadvantages due to race, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender and/or rural disparities. Award categories include, but are not limited to, improving the community’s physical health and mental health, reducing social disparities in health care, and ensuring access to health care services. Grant recipients were selected based on clear, defined goals and measurable results for reducing health disparities and improving health equity.


“We are proud to further our commitment to health equity by supporting Upstate Family Health Center’s program that addresses the need for substance use and behavioral health care in our local community,” said Eve Van de Wal, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Utica regional president. “Their work helps reduce a significant health disparity that exists for marginalized groups. Partnering with community-based organizations and funding local initiatives like this one, supports our mission of helping our members live healthier more secure lives by improving access to care, advancing specific health outcomes and improving health equity.”


For the latest information on the health plan’s community investments and partnerships, members, providers and employers are encouraged to visit https://news.excellusbcbs.com/news-room/community-investments-partnerships.


Excellus BCBS Community Investments and Partnerships Manager Shayna Keller, UFHC Chief Executive Officer John Milligan, Excellus BCBS Regional President Eve Van de Wal, and UFHC Chief Operating Officer Rich Williams, RN join for a Health Equity Award presentation.








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