Funding is part of UnitedHealthcare’s $12.3 million in Empowering Health grants focused on expanding access to care and addressing the social determinants of health for people in underserved communities
UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is awarding $1 million in Empowering Health grants to seven community-based organizations in Kansas to expand access to care and address the social determinants of health for uninsured individuals and underserved communities.
In total, UnitedHealthcare is donating $12.3 million through Empowering Health grants across 21 states. UnitedHealthcare launched its Empowering Health commitment in 2018.
More than half of the Empowering Health grants will help organizations increase their capacity to fight COVID-19 and support impacted communities. These grants will assist individuals and families experiencing challenges from social distancing, food insecurity, social isolation and behavioral health issues, which are among the most urgent needs resulting from the pandemic.
“The circumstances created by COVID-19 have presented many new challenges for communities across Kansas," said Gov. Laura Kelly. "We appreciate the grants awarded by UnitedHealthcare and its willingness to step up and support Kansans and their families. My administration is committed to protecting the health of Kansans, and I’m glad to see partners like UnitedHealthcare who share our values are working towards the same goals and outcomes.”
Grant recipients in Kansas include:
- Kansas Food Bank at various locations statewide — $250,000 to purchase a refrigerated semitruck trailer, provide a walk-in cooler for a food pantry in rural West Kansas to serve as a fresh food hub for other food pantries in the region, expand the agency’s mobile pantry program into rural Central Kansas counties, and provide emergency food boxes and shelf-stable meals for food insecure individuals and families.
- Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City — $250,000 to purchase a commercial freezer and dairy cooler to safely store home-delivered, medically sensitive meals for older adults and expand services throughout the Kansas City metro area.
- Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas— $200,000 to support its Community Health Action Team with a behavioral health nurse and social worker to address social isolation and behavioral health needs among existing and new patients with low incomes in its service area.
- Johnson County Mental Health Center in Johnson County — $95,000 to support emergency clinical services, costs associated with the delivery of meals to residents and transportation for clients.
- Valeo Behavioral Health Care in Topeka — $95,000 to provide comprehensive mental health services to more than 120 uninsured patients who are experiencing mental illness.
- Just Food of Douglas County, Kansas — $60,000 to expand its cooking education program called Just Cook to additional community sites and increase rural food distribution through its mobile pantry called the Cruising Cupboard.
- Harvesters – The Community Food Network in Northeast Kansas — $50,000 to expand SNAP outreach and mobile distribution programs through extended staff time and the purchase of emergency food.
“This unprecedented environment has compounded challenges faced by Kansas’ most vulnerable residents and created further barriers to accessing the health care and services they need,” said Kevin Sparks, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas. “Our support of these organizations in Kansas through this UnitedHealthcare Empowering Health commitment will help provide critical aid and resources to the communities in Kansas that need it the most.”
Providing access to better health in high-risk and high-need local communities is a profound challenge. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, nearly 80% of what influences a person’s health relates to nonmedical issues, such as food, housing, transportation and the financial means to pay for basic daily needs.
The Empowering Health grants bring to more than $100 million UnitedHealth Group’s efforts to fight COVID-19 and assist impacted communities by supporting vulnerable populations, protecting the health care workforce and advancing breakthrough innovations in testing and treatment.
In addition to UnitedHealthcare’s support in Kansas, the company has launched similar community initiatives and public-private collaborations nationwide focused on addressing social determinants of health. UnitedHealthcare has invested more than $500 million in affordable-housing communities since 2011, partnered with food banks and meal-delivery services, and last year joined with the American Medical Association to standardize how social determinants of health data is collected and used to create more holistic care plans.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.3 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.