Cleveland - UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is awarding $1.1 million in grants to four statewide and Cleveland-area community-based organizations to expand their services that address key social determinants of health, and improve care access and health outcomes.
These grants continue the company’s long-standing commitment to Ohio by UnitedHealth Group and the United Health Foundation. Since 2016, $8.5 million has been awarded to not-for-profit organizations delivering health programs to communities in Ohio.
The grants will support a range of critical needs in northeast Ohio, including transportation services; access to fresh and healthy food; reduction of social isolation and feelings of loneliness; and access to vision screenings, comprehensive eye exams and glasses.
UnitedHealthcare is working with the organizations as part of its Empowering Health initiative that focuses on expanding access to care and addressing the social determinants of health for people in underserved communities. Nearly 80 percent1 of what influences a person’s health relates to nonmedical issues, such as food, housing, transportation and the financial means to pay for basic daily needs. Yet the health care system today directs much of its financial resources to treating illnesses rather than addressing these underlying social needs – which ultimately creates the need for more medical care.
Grant recipients include:
• Ohio Association of Foodbanks - $500,000 to fund new and leased refrigerated trucks, refrigerators and freezers at food banks and food pantries across the state, and resources for safely handling and effectively marketing fresh produce.
• East End Neighborhood House - $260,000 to address transportation barriers and social isolation for youth and seniors in Cleveland’s Greater Buckeye neighborhood by funding two 15-passenger vans and on-demand ride services through Uber Health.
• Helen Keller International - $250,000 to provide school- and community-based vision screenings, comprehensive eye exams and glasses to low-income children and adults in northeast Ohio.
• Senior Citizen Resources - $95,000 to fund two vans to replace outdated vehicles and to expand access to transportation services for northeast Ohio seniors.
UnitedHealthcare will help link the four nonprofits to one another so they can better leverage their efforts, creating an interconnected system of clinical and social services capable of producing better outcomes for local residents.
According to the most recent America’s Health Rankings by the United Health Foundation, Ohio ranked 40th when analyzing a comprehensive set of behaviors, community and environmental conditions, policies, clinical care and outcomes data.
“For many people, living a healthy lifestyle goes beyond a visit to their doctor and involves a full range of social factors,” said Tracy Davidson, vice president of quality & population health strategy, UnitedHealthcare Community & State. “It’s difficult for people to improve their health if they can’t feed their families, lack access to reliable transportation or feel isolated. Through our Empowering Health initiative, we are delivering innovative ways to make a real impact on people’s health and well-being, especially for the uninsured or underserved.”
In addition to UnitedHealthcare’s support in Ohio, the company has launched similar community initiatives and public-private collaborations nationwide. It has invested more than $400 million in affordable-housing communities, partnered with food banks, meal-delivery and transportation services, and recently joined with the American Medical Association to standardize how social determinant data is collected and used to create more holistic care plans.
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