UnitedHealthcare Donates $130,000 to Support Health Programs and Improve Access to Primary Health Care Services in Massachusetts
Grants focus on health education and outreach programs to help people get access to care and improve their health
BOSTON (March 26, 2015) – UnitedHealthcare donated $130,000 to 24 community health organizations to support access to primary care and other support services for Massachusetts residents.
Of the 24 grants awarded, 10 went to community health centers, five to skilled nursing facilities and five to community-based health and provider organizations for their health initiatives. Four grants were given to aging service access points (ASAPs), which provide services including information and referrals, interdisciplinary case management, reassessment of needs, and protective services of abuse and neglect of elders.
Bernadette Di Re, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Massachusetts, announced $10,000 grants to two of the 24 organizations during a special check-presentation ceremony at Bowdoin Street Health Center of Dorchester:
· Bowdoin Street Health Center, for its “Wellness Center Programming,” which promotes healthy eating, healthy cooking and increased exercise for health center patients. The Wellness Center supports the Fitness in the City program for children who are at risk of obesity; the Healthy Food Access Program, which includes a farmer’s market; the Healthy Corner Store that brings fresh fruits and vegetables to local markets; and the Healthy Champions program where youth create and manage a community garden and sell their produce at the farmer’s market to educate people about healthier eating habits.
· Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, for its “Healthcare for the Homeless” program that provides preventive and primary care services to its transient patients in Merrimack Valley, and helps secure local resources for food, emergency shelter, permanent housing and job training.
During the check-presentation ceremony, guests received a tour of the health center to see first-hand its impact in the local community. Additional grant recipient representatives in attendance included Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (Cambodian Fire Fund), Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center, Kit Clark Senior Center, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence (Elder Abuse Advocacy), St. Camillus Health Center, St. Patrick’s Manor, South End Community Health Center and Springwell.
According to the 2014 America’s Health Rankings®, Massachusetts ranked third in overall health. However, the state ranked 19th in “low birth weight” and 36th in “preventable hospitalizations.” Massachusetts’ lowest ranking was “disparity in health status” (42nd). Community health organizations, like the ones awarded the UnitedHealthcare grants, can help improve low-ranking measures.
“All of our grant recipients are leaders in their communities, providing a heath care ‘safety net’ for some of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents,” said Di Re. “These organizations help address the cultural, socioeconomic and financial concerns to enable people to get access to care and other social services that help them live happier and healthier lives.”
Other organizations receiving grants include: Bethany Health Center, Framingham; Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (Cambodian Fire Fund), Lowell; Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, Worcester; Covenant Health System – Elizabeth Seton Residence and Marrilac Residency, Wellesley; Family Health Center Of Worcester; Greater Lynn Senior Services; Greater New Bedford Community Health Center; Holy Trinity Health Care, Worcester; Holyoke Health Center Inc.; Immigrant Assistance Center, New Bedford; Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center, Allston; Kit Clark Senior Center, Dorchester; Lowell Community Health Center; Mattapan Community Health Center; Minuteman Senior Services, Bedford; Peabody Residential Services Corporation; REACH Beyond Domestic Violence (Elder Abuse Advocacy), South End Community Health Center, Boston; Springwell, Waltham; St. Camillus Health Center, Whitinsville; St. Patrick's Manor, Framingham; and West Mass Elder Care, Holyoke.
In the United States, one in 15 people, or about 22 million patients, rely on community health centers as their health care home, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). Medical professionals at community health centers are often trained to recognize and understand the unique language, cultural and economic barriers that often discourage people from seeking care.
“On behalf of the health centers across the Commonwealth, we applaud UnitedHealthcare for recognizing the important role that Bowdoin Street and other grant recipients play in helping make our communities healthier, and supporting our care initiatives that lead to better health and reduced health care costs,” said Adela Margules, executive director, Bowdoin Street Health Center.
By keeping the community healthier, community health centers help reduce the health care system’s overall costs. NACHC research shows that patients who use community health centers are less likely to use hospital emergency rooms for routine care or to treat preventable medical conditions. The NACHC estimates that health centers save an average of $1,263 per person per year, which translates to a total cost savings of $24 billion per year for the health system as a whole.
UnitedHealthcare’s Community Grants Program helps community-based organizations get the funds they need to continue their important work, and offers free expert guidance to help the organizations make their funding efforts more effective. For more information, visit www.uhccommunitygrants.com.
UnitedHealthcare serves more than 390,000 people in Massachusetts with a care provider network of 101 hospitals and more than 26,000 care providers statewide.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 850,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. Globally, UnitedHealthcare serves 45 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @myUHC on Twitter.