Service members, veterans and their families in the Colorado Springs area will have access to expanded support networks through the Peak Military Care Network (PMCN), funded by a three-year, $800,000 United Health Foundation grant.
The grant was announced today, in honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day, during a special "Welcome Home" reception for military families.
PMCN connects people to information and services through a collaborative network of military, veteran and community-based organizations that supports the individual and the family, including advocacy, behavioral health, child welfare and crisis intervention, education, workforce readiness, medical and physical health, social services, and transition and reintegration.
The United Health Foundation grant will enable PMCN to provide additional resources that expand its network of collaborative partners that helps support the needs of the region's military and veteran community. This includes:
- broadening the PMCN network of partner agencies to foster better communication and collaboration, and ensure breadth and depth of the network to meet the broad range of service members' and veterans' needs;
- enhancing the Network of Care website (which includes a directory of local services), including enhanced tools that connect service members, veterans and their families to critical services;
- implementing more robust education and outreach efforts, particularly those that focus on transitioning service members through all phases of the transition process; and
- providing case management support to help those with multiple or complex issues in order to address immediate and long-term needs, including improved health and well-being.
"Our partnership with United Health Foundation is transformational, helping PMCN take our support services and programs to a whole new level for service members, veterans and their families," said Kate Hatten, PMCN president and CEO. "With such a large military community in this region, these resources will expand our programs and provide meaningful support that will help improve their lives."
The Pikes Peak area is the only region in the United States to house a major Army installation (Fort Carson), three Air Force installations (Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station), and a leading service academy (U.S. Air Force Academy). One in four residents is a former or current member of the military, making the area home to one of the highest concentrations of service members in the nation, according to PMCN. More than 25,000 soldiers are stationed at Fort Carson alone, double the total from 2006.
"Our military family is an essential part of this community," said U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.). "Today we honor and recognize the countless contributions and sacrifices made by military spouses to keep our country safe, and I applaud United Health Foundation for its leadership in supporting our service members and their families through innovative partnerships that strengthen the network of care."
Several elected officials and community leaders participated in the event, including Congressman Lamborn.
"Military spouses are like tempered steel. They have been in the fire and come out stronger and better. I'm very proud to have been a Military spouse. These spouses deserve everything we can do for them," said Mrs. Jill Renuart, spouse of General Gene Renuart, US Army, Ret. Former commander.
The grant was announced on Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Friday, May 6, at the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments during a "welcome home" event for spouses and families of service members who have recently returned from overseas deployment. Volunteers, including elected officials, community leaders, and UnitedHealthcare and Optum employees, distributed 250 "Family Movie Night" gift baskets to military families of service members.
"The nation's military service members and their families make tremendous sacrifices every day, and we need to do everything we can to help ensure their continued health and well-being," said Tom Wiffler, chief operating officer of UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans, which provides health care services for 3 million service members, military retirees and their families. "This partnership with Peak Military Care Network will increase capabilities and capacity to expand Peak's reach into the military community, and improve the level of care and support to our service members and their loved ones."
About Peak Military Care Network
PMCN is a coordinating entity that has built a network of collaborative partners to better meet the needs of our region's military and veteran community. PMCN promotes health and well-being by connecting service members, veterans and their families to critical resources and services to meet complex needs by fostering coordination, collaboration and partnerships among service providers; training community-based providers; and conducting outreach to providers and our military and veteran communities to increase knowledge of and access to resources.
About United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health Foundation has committed more than $285 million to programs and communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at www.unitedhealthfoundation.org or follow @UHGGives on Twitter or Facebook.com/UHGGives.
(L-R) El Paso Commissioner Sallie Clark, Tom Wiffler, chief operating officer, UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans and U.S. Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) help hand out 250 "Family Movie Night" gift baskets that were distributed as part of Military Spouse Appreciation Day in Colorado Springs, CO. (PHOTO: Teresa Lee)
UnitedHealthcare and Optum employees Cheryl Kusemka, Sharon Elbert-Holmes and Sherry Howell work together to assemble "Family Movie Night" gift baskets for military families as part of Military Spouse Appreciation Day in Colorado Springs, CO. The baskets will be distributed by Peak Military Care Network, which is receiving a new United Health Foundation partnership grant to help the organization strengthen its partnership alliances and build proactive support networks for service members, veterans and their families. (PHOTO: Teresa Lee)