|(Left to right) Cheryl Lulias, president and executive director of the Medical Home Network; Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Cheryl Hyman, chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago; Larry Goodman, MD, CEO of Rush University Medical Center; and Bill Downe, president and CEO of BMO Financial Group, at Rush’s Oct. 25 press conference announcing BMO Harris Bank’s grant. (Photography by Josh Sears)
For many people in the Chicago area, it is hard to access the medical care they need, resulting in delayed treatment or unnecessary and costly trips to emergency rooms. Multiple health care providers often treat the same patient with little or no communication. Fragmented care and duplicated services decrease the quality of care patients receive, while increasing health care costs. A $5 million donation from BMO Harris Bank is helping Rush to break this expensive, inefficient cycle.
Funding from BMO Harris Bank will set in motion new, sustainable models of health care delivery to bolster care for people in underserved communities on Chicago’s West and South Sides. It also will develop educational curricula to train a new health care workforce, targeting health professionals like community health workers and care coordinators.
Historically, BMO Harris Bank has invested in programs to eliminate disparities in education and health care. They continue that commitment with this initiative, which strengthens and accelerates existing collaboration among Rush; City Colleges of Chicago and Malcolm X College, the City Colleges’ hub for health care education; and the Medical Home Network, which provides comprehensive primary care for Medicaid patients and allows primary care providers, community-based clinics and hospitals to share health information.
“We commend [Rush CEO] Larry Goodman, MD; the team at Rush; and their partners for creating such a compelling initiative. The issues of health, education, medical services and poverty are all key elements of BMO's community efforts and areas where we know we can make a difference," said Bill Downe, president and CEO of BMO Financial Group. "We are especially pleased that this initiative will at the same time improve health care and create valuable jobs in the Chicago communities that most need them.”
This initiative represents a unique partnership between public and private institutions combating health and education disparities. Together, community-based care providers, community hospitals, an academic medical center and a community college all work toward shared goals of improving education, patient care and, ultimately, community health.