The World Health Organization defines social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age”.¹ Research has shown that being in poor health is associated with unemployment or increased risk of losing a job.² According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, individuals in excellent or very good health are more likely to be working than those in fair or poor health.³ Conversely, unemployment can negatively impact one’s health with particular impact on mental health and some noted relationship between unemployment and poor physical health.⁴ The intersection of health and work is not just about having a job or not. Studies have also shown that the quality and stability of work are associated with health; low quality, unstable, or poorly-paid jobs can be or are associated with negative health impacts.⁵
With the reality that one’s health is impacted by factors beyond the health care services they receive, efforts are being made by states and their managed care partners to align the health care and social services systems and are investing in non-clinical interventions and organizations. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, UnitedHealthcare has recently provided capacity building support to three organizations covering various regions of the Commonwealth for employment support services that will be made available to the community and our members. For our members, these services will be provided when employment needs are identified during our comprehensive social needs screening.
Social Determinants of Health
“The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age”
Quality & Stability of Work
associated with health; low quality, unstable, or poorly-paid jobs can be or are associated with negative health impacts
Fayette County Community Training Institute (CTI): In southwestern Pennsylvania, the Fayette County Community Action Agency’s CTI has provided a Nurse Aide Training program since 1999. The seven-week program combines classroom instruction, laboratory instruction and theory, and a work experience in a clinical setting. Once the course work is completed, students receive their Nurse’s Assistant certificate. UnitedHealthcare is sponsoring scholarships to the Nursing Aide Training program or the organization’s Bridges program to help low income individuals access jobs in health care.
Southwest Community Development Corporation (CDC): With UnitedHealthcare’s support, the CDC will provide a week-long quarterly employment bootcamp for up to 80 high need individuals. The bootcamp consists of workshops on specific topics, mock interviews, and a job fair. Upon completion, individuals receive a certificate of completion and a small stipend to help them purchase needed items to help them in their employment search.
Tec Centro: Serving primarily the Lancaster region in the Commonwealth, Tec Centro provides community members with education and skills training programs to help prepare them for employment in high demand, career oriented occupations. UnitedHealthcare’s support will allow over 100 low income community members to access both Tec Centro’s health care training program and job search/placement program.
UnitedHealthcare’s support of these organizations and their employment services is recent and there are no reportable outcomes as a result. However, each organization has identified anticipated outcomes based on the historical impact of their programs.
Fayette County’s Community Action Agency has reported that over 95% of students to date in their Nurse Aide Training program have gained employment in health care after enrolling in the program and a similar outcome is anticipated for UnitedHealthcare’s scholarship students.
The Southwest CDC will track all bootcamp participants on a quarterly basis by phone and email for one year to track employment/continued employment and has set a goal that over 75% of participants will become successfully employed and continue their employment one year after attending the workshop.
As a result of participation in Tec Centro’s training programs, it is anticipated that between 60 and 75% of participants will secure employment or maintain their current job based on results to date.