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Scranton Named Semifinalist in National “Way to Wellville” Competition

The “Electric City” one of 16 Communities Selected by Esther Dyson-backed Nonprofit

SCRANTON, Pa. The City of Scranton has been selected as one of 16 semifinalists in The Way to Wellville, a national competition to find five communities to compete over five years for the greatest improvement in five measures of health. The initiative is sponsored by HICCup (www.hiccup.co), a nonprofit founded by angel investor Esther Dyson to encourage community-led innovation that results in healthier people and places.

HICCup’s six-person advisory board selected the 16 semifinalists from a highly competitive field of 42 community applications received from 24 states. Semifinalist communities will now submit full proposals by June 27, 2014, detailing their vision and plans for the next five years.

“It sounds trite, but it is extremely difficult to choose,” said Ms. Dyson. “The number and quality of applications is a testament to the exceptional places and dedicated leaders eager to make a difference in the health of their communities.”

“Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘We can do more good together than we can do alone,’” said Thomas Graf, MD, chief medical officer, Population Health and Longitudinal Care at Geisinger Health System. “Our coalition has many partners who are passionate about health and wellness for all of our neighbors. If we can galvanize all the resources in our community, we will make lightning strike in the Electric City. With the support of HICCUP, we can win the race to make Scranton one of the healthiest communities in the nation. Being named a semifinalist reinforces our conviction that we can win this competition. Stand by America, the train has left Steamtown and we are on our way to Wellville.”

After reviewing the semifinalist proposals, the HICCup advisory board will next select a smaller number of finalist communities for site visits in July and early August. The selection will culminate in mid-August with the announcement of five Wellville communities to compete in the five-year contest. The Wellville Five will attend the Next Step to Wellville conference, September 16-18, 2014, in Tampa, Florida, to kick off the five-year effort.

The five communities that earn a spot in the five-year contest will receive support from HICCup and a network of partners in the areas of health data/measurement, consumer- and community-based health solutions, and innovative health financing strategies. The effort will measure the impact of coordinated, community-wide initiatives, while creating new models and markets for the production of health.

“The idea behind The Way to Wellville is not just to make a measurable difference in five places, but to design and deliver a comprehensive approach to health that can be replicated broadly,” said Rick Brush, CEO of HICCup. “Together with our Wellville partners, five communities will point the way to better health and financial sustainability.”

The 16 semifinalists for The Way to Wellville contest are:

  • Athens County, OH
  • Clatsop County, OR
  • Clinton County, NY
  • Columbus, IN
  • Garden City, KS
  • Greater Muskegon, MI
  • Jackson, TN
  • Lake County, CA
  • Lynchburg, VA
  • Niagara Falls, NY
  • Oxford County, ME
  • Scranton, PA
  • Spartanburg, SC
  • Starkville, MS
  • Wilkes County, NC
  • Winona, MN

About HICCup

HICCup stands for Health Initiative Coordinating Council. It is a nonprofit supported since mid-2013 through charitable contributions from Esther Dyson, in-kind resources, and extensive field research and development among a growing group of guiding organizations, partners and communities. HICCup is fiscally sponsored by New Venture Fund (www.newventurefund.org). Additional partners, funders and collaborators are encouraged to visit www.HICCup.co and contact rick@hiccup.co.

About Geisinger

Geisinger Health System is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development of innovative care models such as ProvenHealth Navigator® and ProvenCare®. As one of the nation’s largest rural health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeast Pennsylvania. The physician-led system is comprised of more than 21,000 employees,including a 1,100-member multi-specialty group practice, eight hospital campuses, two research centers and a 467,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $7.4 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania economy. The health system and the health plan have repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or follow the latest Geisinger news and more on Twitter and Facebook.