Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield gave $500,000 to a free health care center run by the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh yesterday.
Catholic Charities Executive Director Susan Rauscher says the insurance company’s grant is equal to the amount of all other donations the center received. Rauscher says like most charities, the center had been hard-pressed to find donations in a down economy.
“We’re going to continue to need to look for resources and to look for support, but certainly this very generous gift from Highmark just ensures that we’re going to be functioning at capacity for another year,” says Rauscher.
She says the Free Health Care Center treats about 700 people per month for many kinds of dental and medical problems. She says those patients are often those who “fall between the cracks”: their employers do not insure them but they make too much to be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
The Free Health Care Center operates at a budget between $800,000 and $900,000 each year, says Rauscher. Only six of the workers are paid staff members; the majority of the medical and dental work is done by volunteers.
Highmark and the Highmark Foundation have given more than $1 million to the center since 2005, including this year’s gift.