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F.R.E.E. Receives Premier Cares Award, $100,000 for Helping Uninsured Adults Gain Mobility and Independence
[January 30, 2013]

F.R.E.E. Receives Premier Cares Award, $100,000 for Helping Uninsured Adults Gain Mobility and Independence

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --(Business Wire)--

The Foundation for Rehabilitation Equipment and Endowment (F.R.E.E.) has been honored by the Premier healthcare alliance with the 21st annual Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award for helping adults achieve independence through mobility when they have no other way to attain that independence.

Based in Roanoke, Va., F.R.E.E., a community-based, volunteer-led organization that provides mobility-related rehab equipment to the uninsured, received the Cares Award and $100,000.

Sponsored by Premier and its member hospitals, the Cares Award recognizes exemplary efforts by not-for-profit community organizations to improve the health of communities in need. The award was given during Premier's annual Governance Education Conference, January 28-30 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Launched in Roanoke in 1999 by a small group of medical professionals focused on rehabilitation therapy, F.R.E.E. now serves significant portions of Virginia. Their vision is a state where every need for mobility-related rehab equipment is fulfilled. F.R.E.E. works with uninsured and underinsured adults who do not have access to mobility equipment and who need to regain mobility lost by injury or illness. The program helps these adults re-enter their communities as active, contributing participants. In Virginia, this at-risk population is growing as a result of increased unemployment and reductions in employer-provided healthcare, a problem exacerbated by the difficult economic conditions of the past few years.

"Each year through our Cares Award program, we honor six organizations that are doing exceptional, innovative work to help a medically underserved population in their communities," said Susan DeVore, Premier's president and CEO. "This year's Cares Award recipient - the F.R.E.E. Foundation - represents the spirit of what social responsibility truly means. They, along with the five finalists and many deserving applicants, really make a difference in their communities by helping these medically underserved populations."

A panel of national healthcare leaders selects the Premier Cares Award winner and five finalists, all of which receive cash awards for use in further improving their programs. The Cares Award program spotlights these community-based healthcare initiatives and helps other organizations learn to replicate the best practice programs by featuring information about them on the Cares Award website.

Following are this year's award finalists, each of which received $24,000:

Avera eCARE Services of Avera - Sioux Falls, S.D.: a visionary telehealth model that has provided rural healthcare professionals around-the-clock access to specialty care physicians, nurses and pharmacists since its first rogram began in 1993. Using innovative technology, Avera eCARE helps rural facilities find the evidence-based, high-quality care needed to offset workforce shortages and increased demands for care in rural communities. (

Courage Center - Minneapolis: a nonprofit rehabilitation and resource center that serves children and adults experiencing barriers to health and independence. Their mission is to empower people with disabilities to realize their full potential in every aspect of life. Courage Center specializes in treating brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, chronic pain, autism and disabilities experienced since birth. (

Every Child Succeeds of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center - Cincinnati: a home visitation program helping at-risk families ensure an optimal start for their young children. ECS provides home visits for first-time mothers who are young, low-income, single and/or receiving inadequate prenatal care - factors that tend to put their children at risk for delayed development, poor medical care, abuse, neglect and low academic achievement. The program is free and voluntary, begins during a mother's pregnancy and continues through the child's third birthday. ECS operates in seven counties in southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky and has served more than 17,000 families through more than 500,000 home visits since 1999. (

LAC+USC Pediatric Asthma Disease Management Program - Los Angeles: a comprehensive, mobile-based pediatric asthma disease management program that delivers asthma specialty care to inner-city children at no cost to their families. It was created in 1995 as a collaborative effort among the California chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, LAC+USC Medical Center, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, and the Los Angeles Unified School District. The LAC+USC currently operates four Breathmobiles, 34-foot mobile clinics staffed by teams of asthma care specialists delivering routine, preventive, team-based asthma care. The program cares for 18 school sites, with an emphasis on the inner-city, low-income neighborhoods, and areas surrounding major freeways. As of June 2012, more than 14,000 unique patients have been treated at more than 75,000 patient visits.

The Children's Place - Kansas City, Mo.: an agency that was created in response to increased incidences of child abuse. Concerned, key community stakeholders opened The Children's Place in 1978, starting with the Day Treatment Program, a comprehensive combination of therapeutic classroom instruction paired with intensive child and family therapy. The Children's Place has since added outpatient services in 1986 and parenting support services in 1998. Today the program is regionally unmatched in depth of services and is considered a community expert in early childhood trauma. Besides its three ongoing programs, the agency provides hundreds of hours of community training to area mental health professionals and prospective foster and adoptive parents. (

About the Premier Cares Award

Premier has presented the Cares Award annually since 1991, when it was created by Dr. Monroe E. Trout, former CEO of American Healthcare Systems, one of Premier's heritage organizations. The program has provided more than $3 million to more than 100 organizations nationwide. The Cares Award winner receives a cash prize of $100,000, while five runners-up receive $24,000 each. The competition is open to not-for-profit organizations that have been in existence for more than two years, are providing creative solutions to health status improvement, can provide documentation of outcomes and impact on a specific population, and have programs that can be replicated in other communities.

About the Premier healthcare alliance, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

Premier is a performance improvement alliance of more than 2,700 U.S. hospitals and 90,000 other sites using the power of collaboration and technology to lead the transformation to coordinated, high-quality, cost-effective care. Owned by hospitals, health systems and other providers, Premier operates a leading healthcare purchasing network with more than $4 billion in annual savings. Premier also maintains the nation's largest clinical, financial and outcomes database with information on 1 in 4 patient discharges. A world leader in delivering measurable improvements in care, Premier works with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier also has an office in Washington. Stay connected with Premier on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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