Empowering Health is UnitedHealthcare’s commitment to addressing important health issues that impact local communities across the state, from Valdosta to Dawsonville. This is accomplished by helping expand access to care and addressing social determinants of health such as housing, food and transportation. Through philanthropic and business investments, innovation and volunteerism, UnitedHealthcare is making a difference, one person at a time.
One especially vulnerable population in Georgia is children in underserved communities. These children experience a variety of care access challenges, among them access to vision screenings and eye care. Children who have always had impaired eyesight are often unaware that they are unable to see clearly. An estimated 80% of what children learn, they learn visually. If a child has trouble seeing, they can have trouble learning and developing physically and socially.
UnitedHealthcare’s partnership with Prevent Blindness Georgia (PBGA) addresses Hall County’s exceptional need. Nationally, 8-10% of young children, when vision screened, are unable to pass an eye test. In Hall County, 20-30% of the children have failed the vision screening.
Thanks to a $125,000 UnitedHealthcare grant, PBGA was able to provide free vision screenings, eye exams and prescription eyeglasses to local students in need. One event held at Chicopee Woods Elementary School in Gainesville, GA, provided eye examinations for 200 children. Additionally, 55 kids received free prescription eyeglasses to help address their vision issues.
“Community & State has in-depth experience and knowledge of every corner of Georgia,” said Michael Minor, Georgia chief executive officer, UnitedHealthcare Community & State. “Our local presence enables us to identify the opportunities as well as the issues, so we can deliver effective solutions to address the specific areas of need like in Hall County.”
Access to health resources goes beyond just medical care. UnitedHealthcare’s Food as Medicine partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank focuses on making sure patients and their families have access to healthy foods. Half of Grady Health System’s patient population are food insecure, and 63% of their patients diagnosed with diabetes are at risk of food insecurity. And since the onset of COVID-19, these numbers have only grown, with a 50% increase in overall food insecurity across the Atlanta metro region — meaning that now, more than ever, these prescriptions are essential to improving health outcomes. A $95,000 donation in 2019 and a $98,000 donation in 2021 granted by UnitedHealthcare to the Atlanta Community Food Bank has directly funded the Food as Medicine partnership, addressing the lack of access to healthy food options in the area.
“Our partnership with Atlanta Community Food Bank not only assists patients facing food insecurity, but it helps patients advocate for themselves in new ways,” adds Minor. “Across the state, we are setting individuals up with long-term solutions to meet their needs and ultimately improve their health.”
Through community partnerships and hyper-local donation efforts, UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to identifying the needs of Georgians and expanding access to care and resources.