UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is awarding $595,000 in Empowering Health grants to six community-based organizations in Tennessee 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 Tennessee include:
- Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee — $200,000 to expand access to fresh and nutritious food for people experiencing food insecurity in East Tennessee counties through the food bank’s Fresh Pantry program, Senior Outreach program and Mobile Pantry program.
- Alliance Healthcare Services, Memphis — $125,000 to support two mental health clinicians for the Crisis Assessment and Response to Emergencies (CARE) Team as part of its Jail Diversion program, providing comprehensive mental health crisis assessments and connecting individuals who have a history of mental health needs with community resources.
- Wesley House Community Center, Knoxville — $100,000 to provide food and supplies to homebound seniors, as well as childcare and food for essential health care workers.
- Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association, Memphis — $95,000 to provide emergency home-delivered meals and telephone check-ins for vulnerable, homebound seniors.
- Appalachian Miles for Smiles, East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia — $40,000 to provide comprehensive vision care services and eyeglasses through a mobile eye unit to patients who are uninsured or have low incomes.
- YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South, Memphis — $35,000 to support food for Shelby County School students at 50 meal sites.
“This unprecedented environment has compounded challenges faced by Tennessee’s most vulnerable residents and created further barriers to accessing the health care and services they need,” said Keith Payet, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee. “Our support of these organizations in Tennessee through this UnitedHealthcare Empowering Health commitment will help provide critical aid and resources to the communities in Tennessee 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 Tennessee, 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.