United Health Foundation and Family First Health, a federally qualified health center, are joining forces to improve access to health care for children and their families across Pennsylvania while widening the reach to serve vulnerable populations.

United Health Foundation’s three-year, $2 million grant to Family First Health will enhance services at Family First Health’s York, Pennsylvania, location, a school-based health center housed at Hannah Penn K-8 school, home to a significantly underserved population. The grant will help the school’s health center connect students, families and school staff to expanded primary care services as well as offer new behavioral health and wellness resources to the school’s students.

The program will also deploy “Health Connectors,” health care professionals who will provide in-home support to families, such as helping individuals manage chronic conditions. Health Connectors will also connect families to the providers at the Hannah Penn Center and help those eligible enroll in health insurance.

"Family First Health is connecting students to primary care, as well as additional services that help them to be healthy and ready to learn."

“Family First Health is connecting students to primary care, as well as additional services that help them to be healthy and ready to learn. This is incredibly needed and important during these historic times,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. “On behalf of York and the entire state, I want to thank the United Health Foundation for its support of this innovative health model and its commitment to children and families at their most foundational times.”

Hannah Penn K-8’s school district ranks among the highest in the state for acute poverty. The socioeconomic challenges in the district translate into a high transiency rate, with a roughly 23% student turnover during the 2018 school year.

“The United Health Foundation is committed to improving and expanding access to health care in Pennsylvania,” said Marynell Benson, a regional president of Optum Complex Care Management. “Together with Family First Health, this partnership will support underserved families with expanded primary care services as well as behavioral health and wellness resources.”

While the grant partnership was initiated prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the onset of the pandemic makes the collaboration even more timely. Overall, UnitedHealth Group has contributed more than $100 million to fight COVID-19, support impacted communities and address emerging health care issues related to the pandemic.

“Family First Health is committed to providing primary medical and dental care, integrated behavioral health and substance misuse treatment services to Pennsylvania residents regardless of their ability to pay,” said Family First Health CEO Jenny Englerth. “This generous grant from the United Health Foundation is especially critical during this unprecedented time because it will allow Family First Health to help underserved populations obtain the care they might not have otherwise received during school closure and stay-at-home orders.”