LOUISVILLE, Ky. and TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Those who can't easily get to health care facilities often end up postponing care and failing to obtain medication, which can cause them to get sicker. Recognizing that community organizations are critical to achieving positive health outcomes for vulnerable populations, WellCare of Kentucky, a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), awarded micro-grants to 10 nonprofit community-based organizations in Kentucky that address transportation needs.
"Unfortunately, 'no transportation' is a frequently cited problem for people when they miss medical appointments," said Dr. Howard Shaps, medical director for WellCare of Kentucky. "Greater access to health care has been related to better health status, more frequent use of preventive services, and lower hospitalization rates."
The grants, totaling $10,500, support Boulware Mission, Community Services of Northern Kentucky, ElderServe, Four Rivers Behavioral Health, Faith Community Pharmacy, Franklin County Health Department, Kentucky Mountain Health Alliance, Paducah Cooperative Ministry, Ramey-Estep Homes and St. Elizabeth Physicians.
"The funding from WellCare will be used to increase access to primary care for targeted at-risk patients by assisting with transportation services," said Amanda Stanken, process improvement manager, St. Elizabeth Physicians. "We believe that providing transportation to the primary care office for this population will result in more consistent medical management, which will lead to more appropriate use of the emergency room and urgent care facilities, reduce overall healthcare costs and ultimately improve the quality of life for our patients."
WellCare's micro-grant program in Kentucky is one facet of its commitment to building partnerships with community organizations that offer support in meeting basic social needs. To date, WellCare has awarded a total of $20,000 in 2016 to 18 organizations across the Commonwealth. Nearly 100 applicants competed for grants.
"A healthy community is one where social safety net providers and community-based organizations are thriving and supporting the needs of local citizens," said Elizabeth Starr, manager of community advocacy, WellCare of Kentucky. "The organizations we selected have a strong foothold in their local communities and are a vital part of sustaining the social safety net for the seniors, and low-income children and families that WellCare serves."
As of June 30, 2016, WellCare serves approximately 445,000 Medicaid members, 8,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 20,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Kentucky. To learn more about how we care for Kentuckians, watch Brandi's story at http://youtu.be/YwOw5EgeSYo.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. WellCare serves approximately 3.8 million members nationwide as of June 30, 2016. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company's website at www.wellcare.com or view the company's videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.
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SOURCE WellCare Health Plans, Inc.