UnitedHealthcare Launches Neighborhood Connections to Help Tennessee's Most At-Risk Residents Get Healthier

November 14, 2013
  • “Feet on the Street” approach connects at-risk members with much-needed care
  • Care coordinators hired from neighborhoods with high concentrations of at-risk members
  • Community Fair to celebrate Knoxville center grand opening Saturday, Nov. 16

UnitedHealthcare has launched Neighborhood ConnectionsTM, a comprehensive health and community service support program for at-risk TennCare members.

As part of the program, UnitedHealthcare will open health assistance centers in Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville and hire 12 care coordinators to support local residents in accessing much-needed health care and community services.

Neighborhood Connections is a personalized health support program to help people who are most at-risk for serious health complications. The model of care involves a “feet on the street” approach through Connections Coordinators who visit members at their homes to help get them the health treatments and community resources they need to live healthier lives. People eligible for Medicaid in Tennessee who have unmanaged chronic or complex health conditions – as determined by multiple gaps in care, frequent emergency room visits and other health indicators – are eligible to participate in this unique one-on-one support program.

Connections Coordinators come directly from local neighborhoods to bring a greater level of understanding of the communities and the unique issues their residents might have. They work closely with UnitedHealthcare’s physical and behavioral health providers, including members’ physicians and community care organizations to identify people who are at-risk, may not have permanent housing, or have unmanaged chronic or complex conditions.

Coordinators will work with members to set health and self-management goals, and create health, emotional and social support plans. They will follow up with regular visits to address any challenges and offer support and advocacy while empowering members to continue on their path to better health.

“Neighborhood Connections Care Coordinators visit people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Community Plan to provide one-on-one support and see first-hand the challenges people face in getting needed care,” said Darren Hodgdon, chief operating officer of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee. “The insights gathered from these visits enable us to help people reach a better state of health by leveraging the services and support we have organized in each community. The Connections staff is a valuable extension to our physician-led clinical care management teams.”

Unlike traditional case management programs, this clinical care model takes a “whole person” approach to care, assessing all aspects of each individual’s life – including current health status, religious and cultural beliefs, living conditions, behavioral health concerns and financial status – to create unique care and support plans.

One of the goals of Neighborhood Connections is to remove barriers that often prevent people from getting needed care. For example, UnitedHealthcare created a unique and innovative Fast Pass program that provides qualifying participants with immediate transportation to doctors’ appointments and social services when they need them.

UnitedHealthcare will host the openings of the new neighborhood offices beginning with a celebration at the Knoxville Neighborhood Connections center on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The center is located at 2200 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. Additional grand openings will be held at Neighborhood Connections centers in Memphis and Nashville later in the year.

UnitedHealthcare was one of the first health insurers to establish customer support storefronts when it opened the Chinatown Asian Plaza in New York City in 1994 to provide culturally relevant health care services to the Chinese-American community. Today, the company has nearly 30 year-round support centers in 13 states. The Neighborhood Connections health assistance centers represent the next phase of UnitedHealthcare’s customer center initiative, providing even greater support to at-risk individuals to help live healthier lives.

“Over the years, our dedicated customer centers have had a positive impact on their communities, helping people get the best health benefits and additional services to meet their unique health care needs,” said Tom Paul, UnitedHealthcare’s chief consumer officer.

UnitedHealthcare serves more than 1.1 million Tennesseans, including more than 550,000 people who are eligible for Medicaid. The company employs more than 2,000 people in 14 locations and has a care provider network of 134 hospitals and more than 17,000 physicians and other health care professionals statewide.

About UnitedHealthcare
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 and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 780,000 physicians and other health care professionals and 5,900 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 40 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.

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