SOURCE: Qliance

Qliance

January 04, 2011 14:40 ET

Qliance Partners With Seattle Central Community College to Provide Free Primary Care Memberships to Former Foster Youth, Rallies Seattle Businesses to Help

Twenty Students in Need at Seattle Central Community College Will Receive Full Access to Qliance Benefits via Free One-Year Memberships

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - January 4, 2011) - Qliance Medical Management Inc., which operates insurance-free direct primary care clinics -- also known as "direct primary care medical homes" -- in Washington State, is working with Seattle Central Community College to help former foster care students who are enrolled in the college get access to quality health care. The company is donating 10 one-year memberships to former foster care college students at Seattle Central Community College for 2011 as part of the Qliance Community Works program. Soroptimist International of Seattle South has also raised enough to underwrite 10 additional one-year memberships.

Medicaid benefits for former foster children end at age 21, a time when many are still enrolled in college. While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 enables college students to stay on their guardians' insurance policies until age 26, there appears to be a significant gap for foster youth in college, who lack access to affordable health care after turning 21.

According to the Seattle based Casey Family Programs (the nation's largest direct operating foundation focused entirely on foster care and improving the child welfare system) about 20,000 youth age 16 or older "age out" of foster care every year, and must become financially independent and responsible for themselves. While at least 70 percent of children and youth in foster care desire a college experience, only about 10 percent ever gain access to higher education programs. Only about 2 percent ever obtain bachelor's degrees, in contrast to 24 percent of adults in the general population. Access to affordable or free health care can be a significant factor in whether a former foster student is able to complete a college degree.

For a discounted charity rate of $600 per year (underwritten by Qliance and Soroptimist International of Seattle South), Qliance is providing former foster care students in the College Success Program at Seattle Central Community College with unrestricted access to its services including primary care, preventive care and chronic illness management, at any of Qliance's clinics in Seattle, Kent and Mercer Island. Students who receive the gifted memberships will have full access to Qliance benefits, including access to 30-60-minute same-day and next-day appointments, 7 days a week and access to providers via email and phone calls. There are no co-pays, no deductibles, no co-insurance, and no exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

"Qliance is thrilled to be working together with generous partners and supporters to provide stable and high quality health care to college youth in need," said Norm Wu, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Qliance Medical Management Inc. "Health care is a basic need, and should not become a barrier to earning a college degree. Qliance's vision is to enable the vast majority of Americans -- including former foster youth college students -- to have access to exceptional primary care and service, regardless of their health or economic status. We are thrilled to be able to match our partners' donations in this inaugural year of the program, and in doing so will double the number of students who benefit. We look forward to expanding the program, and we openly welcome participation and donations from our partners, staff, patients, and other members of the communities we serve."

"This as an important step in providing a safety net for college students from foster care who are at greater risk of not graduating from college if their health care needs are not met. Health issues are an all-too-common reason for drop-outs among this vulnerable population," said John Emerson, Postsecondary Education Advisor for the Casey Family Programs. "We are working nationally to find innovative solutions like this to keep foster kids in college and graduating. The Qliance model holds promise that others around the country can replicate."

The Seattle Central Community College Foundation was given more than $6,000 by Soroptimist International South Seattle, enough to provide memberships for 10 Seattle Central Community College students who would otherwise have limited or no access to health care service. The Foundation has also been granted 10 full year memberships by Qliance, for a total of 20 student memberships. The students will be selected through an application process being managed by Seattle Central Community College.

Initial support for the program came from The Friends of the College Success Foundation at Seattle Central Community College, Seattle Central Community College Foundation, Casey Family Programs, YMCA, and College Success Foundation.

Corporate partners and major supporters of the initiative, including Soroptimist International of South Seattle, Mighty-O Doughnuts, Seattle NRG, and Emerald Empowerment LLC, have made donations.

Those interested in donating to the program may contact Philip Mertz, Director of Membership Development for Qliance, at pmertz@qliance.com.

About Qliance Medical Management
Qliance Medical Management was founded in 2006 and provides operating and management services to Qliance Medical Group of Washington PC, which operates clinics under the Qliance® brand. Qliance offers people of all ages and incomes unrestricted access to all types of primary, preventive and chronic illness care for one monthly membership fee, ranging between $44 and $84, depending on age, for its core service level. Qliance does not exclude anyone for pre-existing conditions and offers 30- to 60-minute same- and next-day appointments, 7-days per week. Through Qliance, patients and employers are getting exceptional care and saving up to 50 percent on comprehensive health care costs when bundled with a lower-premium insurance plan. Qliance has raised $13.5 million, led by Second Avenue Partners with participation by Clear Fir Partners LP, New Atlantic Ventures, Bezos Expeditions, MSD Capital and other private investors. For more information, visit www.Qliance.com.