SARANAC LAKE - Adirondack Medical Center has been awarded a $61,933 grant from the New York State Health Foundation to enhance the ongoing efforts of the Tri-Lakes Uninsured Task Force. Since its inception in 2001, the efforts of the Uninsured Task Force have mostly relied upon the volunteerism of individuals from the 25 local, regional and state agencies and groups that make up the task force. While these activities are often related to the member's jobs, they are also often in addition to their regular obligations. With the awarding of this grant from the New York State Health Foundation, the Uninsured Task Force intends to hire an individual to help the members carry out the activities on the comprehensive plan of action. "On behalf of the entire Uninsured Task Force, I can proudly state that this grant award will allow us to enhance the advocacy and education elements that are vital to our mission of securing health insurance for all," said Chandler Ralph, President & CEO of AMC, "I would like to thank the Health Foundation for funding this wonderful project." The Uninsured Task Force, whose mission is, "Good Health and Good Insurance for Everyone," has steadily decreased the number of uninsured in the Tri-Lakes since 2001. The percentage of residents with insurance increased from 85.5% in 2003 to 89% in 2005. Likewise, the percentage of residents with children 20 years old or younger reported as having insurance increased from 95.2% in 2003 to 97% percent in 2005. During this same period, most of the United States was seeing a decrease in the number of people with insurance. Once hired, this paid staff member of the task force will work with the Task Force members to not only expand current initiatives, but develop new initiatives as well. Specific job duties include advocacy initiatives, education on the value of insurance and coverage options, working with businesses and schools to improve awareness of the insurance enrollment process for adults and children, and to disseminate the Tri-Lakes Uninsured Task Force model to other communities. The New York State Health Foundation's mission is to expand health insurance coverage to state residents who cannot afford their own coverage or whose coverage is inadequate; increase access to high-quality health care services; and strengthen public and community health by educating New Yorkers about health care issues and empowering communities to address them. The Foundation was established to receive the charitable funds resulting from the conversion of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield from a nonprofit to a for-profit corporation.