UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is awarding $1 million in Empowering Health grants to seven community-based organizations in Texas to expand access to care and address social determinants of health for uninsured individuals and underserved communities.
In total, UnitedHealthcare is donating more than $11.1 million in grants through its Empowering Health program across 12 states. The grants will assist people experiencing challenges such as food access and nutrition, social isolation, and behavioral health issues, and support local health education efforts.
Grant recipients in Texas include:
- Factor Health, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, Travis County – $300,000 to recruit and train health callers to provide evidence-based emotional support to federally qualified health center patients who are at risk of mental health issues such as depression and loneliness.
- Meals on Wheels Texas, statewide – $250,000 to provide technical support to ensure rural programs can consistently reach the most vulnerable, socially isolated older adults by implementing statewide standardized reporting, identifying areas of greatest need, and identifying solutions to challenges and supporting implementation.
- Spring Branch Community Health Center, Houston – $200,000 to decrease barriers to accessing mental health services for high school students in the Spring Branch community by placing a wellness counselor directly in schools.
- Kids’ Meals, Inc., Houston – $100,000 to expand the healthy meal delivery program to children and their families in priority ZIP codes with the highest food insecurity rates.
- Brazos Valley Food Bank, Bryan – $50,000 to implement a Food Farmacy pilot program within their current Screen & Intervene Program, which trains medical staff to screen patients for food insecurity and gives identified patients access to a Client Choice food shopping experience that supports their specific dietary requirements.
- SpringSpirit, Houston – $50,000 to add fitness, nutrition and mental wellness education to their parent education curriculum, and facilitate community health fairs focused on connecting Spring Branch community residents to social services and other critical health resources.
- Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals, Perryton and Anahuac – $50,000 to reestablish two rural Meals on Wheels programs serviced by Ochiltree Hospital District and Chambers County Public Hospital District through funding for food costs, nutrition education and staffing.
“UnitedHealthcare is honored to support the important work these local organizations are doing to provide greater access to services for underserved communities in Texas,” said Don Langer, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas. “Social and economic factors continue to have a significant impact on achieving and maintaining good health. These grants enable us to work closely with our community partners and to be there for what matters in addressing social determinants of health for their residents.”
According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, approximately 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.
Identifying and addressing social determinants of health needs is a core aspect of how UnitedHealthcare serves its members. Last year, UnitedHealthcare screened 4.9 million members, made 2.4 million referrals to community resources, and ultimately closed the loop and confirmed that 84% of members had at least one of their social needs met.
Since launching its Empowering Health commitment in 2018, UnitedHealthcare has now invested more than $62 million in Empowering Health grants, reaching nearly 11 million people through partnerships with community-based organizations in 30 states and the District of Columbia.
UnitedHealth Group, including UnitedHealthcare and Optum, and its affiliated companies, is dedicated to advancing health equity and building healthier communities by supporting programs to improve access to care and address key determinants of health. In Texas, this includes more than $25.7 million in contributions over the last three years representing its businesses, foundations and employees, including a $2.5 million grant in 2020 to the Texas Association of Community Health Centers to treat diabetic adult patients in 24 health centers across the state, and a $2 million grant in 2020 to expand Any Baby Can’s evidence-based Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) home visitation program.
Additionally, UnitedHealth Group has invested more than $800 million in affordable housing communities since 2011, partnered with food banks and meal-delivery services, and in 2019 joined with the American Medical Association to standardize how social determinants of health data is collected and used to create more holistic care plans. In June 2022, the United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group, made a $100 million commitment over 10 years to advance health equity, furthering its efforts to eliminate health disparities. This was the largest single philanthropic commitment ever made by the United Health Foundation.
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 1.6 million physicians and care professionals, and 8,000 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.