Regence Partners with Multnomah Education Service District to Bring Free Health Services to more than 20,000 Students in Need

Company's $20,000 grant helps provide screenings and referral services for

at-risk and low-income students to prevent critical health conditions and

improve academic performance

Dec 03, 2007, 00:00 ET from Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon

    PORTLAND, Ore, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Approximately 117,000 of Oregon's
 children are uninsured, leaving them without access to basic services such
 as immunizations, which prevent critical illness and help them stay in
 school. At-risk and low-income children in Multnomah County's public
 schools will soon have access to some of these basic health screenings and
 services, thanks in part to a $20,000 grant from Regence BlueCross
 BlueShield of Oregon.
     Regence's grant will allow health screening teams from the Multnomah
 Education Service District (MESD) to provide dental, scoliosis and vision
 screenings for more than 20,000 students. In addition, teams will also be
 able to provide immunization screenings in at least 90 high-need Multnomah
 County public schools to identify students in need of referral services.
 They can then be referred to a program such as the Oregon Health Plan or
 free clinics that work with MESD to provide services to Multnomah County
     The immunization screenings are particularly important, as students who
 do not have the proper immunizations by a mandated cutoff date in February
 are excluded from school as a result. Students who need immunizations are
 then able to receive them from the Multnomah County Health Department,
 which has partnered with MESD to provide these services. The MESD is
 targeting schools with particularly high exclusion rates in an effort to
 reach high-risk children and families in time to provide students with
 immunizations and stay in school.
     "Regence's gift reflects our commitment to helping people in our
 community live healthy, productive and successful lives. We are pleased to
 support the MESD in their efforts to provide young people in our community
 with the services they need to get a healthy start and thrive in school,"
 said J. Bart McMullan, Jr., M.D., president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield
 of Oregon.
     The MESD is a regional cooperative agency that caters to the unique
 needs of Multnomah County public schools in such areas as special
 education, alternative education and outdoor education and the School
 Health Services program, of which the health screening teams are a part. By
 helping the teams provide health screenings and tracking, Regence's grant
 will ultimately help students receive the care they need to stay healthy
 and achieve an optimal educational experience.
     "Health screenings and immunizations are two of the most important
 prevention activities that school nurses can offer to prevent disease and
 promote child health. As more children in Oregon are not covered by health
 insurance, the school nurse plays a greater role as an advocate for
 children and a vital healthcare resource to children and families. We are
 very excited about our partnership with Regence to be able to expand our
 services to children we assure a healthy and successful academic
 experience," said Jan Sanderson, RN, of Multnomah Education Service
     About Multnomah Education Service District
     Multnomah Education Service District is a public agency responsible for
 a variety of direct and indirect services to eight Multnomah County school
 districts. MESD saves tax dollars by using efficient delivery strategies
 within a cooperative system of shared services and programs. MESD's
 programs and staff have been consistently recognized for excellence by
 local, regional and national organizations. In 2007, MESD was listed among
 the nation's top 12 education service agencies.
     About Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
     Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon provides medical, dental and
 related coverage for about one million members in Oregon and in Clark
 County, Washington. It's part of the Regence Group, the largest affiliation
 of health plans in the northwest and intermountain states, collectively
 covering nearly three million people. The Regence Group and its affiliates
 are not-for-profit independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield
 Association. Nearly one in three Americans has health care coverage through
 Blue Plans. For more information, visit

SOURCE Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon