UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is awarding nearly $1 million in Empowering Health grants to eight community-based organizations in South Carolina 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.
Grant recipients in South Carolina include:
- Fetter Health Care Network in Charleston — $300,000 to expand the GroceryRx program to provide Federally Qualified Health Center patients with access to farmers’ market services, weekly nutrition classes and food vouchers for patients who participate in group classes.
- American Heart Association — $250,000 to distribute healthy food to vulnerable communities across the state in response to COVID-19.
- Golden Harvest Food Bank in Aiken — $95,000 to provide emergency food and food boxes for people experiencing food insecurity in response to COVID-19.
- Harvest Hope Food Bank in Columbia — $95,000 to provide emergency food and food boxes for people experiencing food insecurity in response to COVID-19.
- Lowcountry Food Bank in Charleston — $95,000 to provide emergency food and food boxes for people experiencing food insecurity in response to COVID-19.
- Lions Vision Services — $65,000 to expand Eye Surgery and Low Vision Equipment Programs designed to ensure uninsured and underserved individuals statewide are empowered to live safe, meaningful and fulfilling lives.
- South Carolina Primary Health Care Association — $50,000 for 20 Community Health Center staff members to receive Community Health Worker Core Competency training through the University of South Carolina aimed at reducing social isolation in vulnerable populations living in underserved communities.
- Big Red Barn Retreat — $45,000 to support the implementation of the Warrior PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes) program, the nation's first nonclinical program designed to cultivate and facilitate Posttraumatic Growth among combat veterans and first responders who are struggling with post-traumatic stress and/or combat stress.
“This unprecedented environment has compounded challenges faced by South Carolina’s most vulnerable residents and created further barriers to accessing the health care and services they need,” said Wanda Coley, vice president of strategy and execution, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement of South Carolina. “Our support of these organizations in South Carolina through this UnitedHealthcare Empowering Health commitment will help provide critical aid and resources to the communities in South Carolina 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 South Carolina, 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