NEW YORK, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Children's Health Fund (CHF) is expanding services in rural areas as part of a $925,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation, including purchasing a new mobile medical clinic to serve West Virginia residents, expanded dental services in Arkansas and medical services in Memphis, Tenn., the introduction of electronic health records in Baton Rouge, La., and mental health services in southern Arizona.
Lack of access to reliable transportation is one of the biggest barriers to health care for children in the United States. Children's Health Fund is the nation's leading pediatric provider of mobile-based health care for homeless and low-income children and their families—regardless of their ability to pay. The expansion of services will help nearly 10,000 children and family members—through 35,000 medical encounters—receive comprehensive medical, mental health, social services, health education and case management services.
"Families living in poverty experience a myriad of challenges to obtaining health care services, which can often be exaggerated by barriers created by living in isolated rural areas. This includes lack of public transportation, physician shortages, and severely strained educational and public resources," said Irwin Redlener, M.D., CHF's president. "We are delighted to partner with the Walmart Foundation to bring even more medical, mental and dental health services and professionals to rural areas, especially when poor families are struggling just to survive during these tough economic times."
"In these difficult times, the work we do to support local communities is more important than ever," said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. "Our grant to Children's Health Fund reinforces our commitment to support organizations that are helping people live better."
When children lack access to visit a physician, they routinely fall behind on immunizations and routine well-child care, causing increased incidence of untreated and chronic illnesses, increased use of emergency rooms for non-emergency care, and an increase in preventable hospitalizations. In rural areas, it is estimated that families travel 20 miles further to reach a primary care provider and 75 percent of rural communities do not have public transportation available to get to pediatric health care services.
CHF's mobile medical clinics go into underserved neighborhoods and provide ongoing care to children at schools, community centers, homeless shelters and other places in the heart of the community. Additional funding from the grant is supporting CHF's national efforts including, the printing and distribution of a healthy lifestyle educational guide.
About Children's Health Fund
Founded in 1987 by singer/songwriter Paul Simon and pediatrician/advocate Irwin Redlener, M.D., Children's Health Fund (CHF) is the nation's leading pediatric provider of mobile-based health care for homeless and low-income children and their families. CHF's mission is to bring health care directly to those in need through the development and support of innovative medical programs, response to public health crises, and the promotion of guaranteed access to health care for all children. CHF currently has 50 mobile medical clinics serving hundreds of locations across the country. Over the past 23 years, the organization has supported more than 2 million health care visits for disadvantaged children, often in places where doctors and health care providers are in short supply. For more information about CHF, visit www.childrenshealthfund.org.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. The Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From Feb. 1, 2009 through Jan. 31, 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $512 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally, $467 million of which was donated in the U.S. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
SOURCE Children's Health Fund