ST. LOUIS, April 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Centene (NYSE: CNC) today announced a series of investments to address the social determinants of health for vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 crisis. These actions build on the company's long-standing commitment to research and investment in areas related to the social determinants of health, which are the non-medical barriers to achieving quality health outcomes.
"To ensure our most vulnerable communities are cared for through the COVID-19 crisis, we need to consider not only how we treat patients, but how we improve the conditions that contribute to health outcomes," said Michael F. Neidorff, Chairman, President and CEO of Centene. "Our communities need access to basic resources during this time of need. We will continue to be their advocate during this pandemic and through the recovery."
Hunger and Food Security
In partnership with Feeding America®'s network of food banks, Centene announced today that it will be donating 1 million meals* a month for 12 months to feed our neighbors in communities all over the country. The demand on food banks has significantly increased during this crisis, and it is estimated that these organizations will need an additional $1.4 billion of funding over the next six months to provide food assistance to people facing hunger.
"Centene was an advocate of the Feeding America network before the COVID-19 crisis began, utilizing their expertise to help our neighbors facing hunger," said Gita Rampersad JD, MHA, Vice President, Healthcare Partnerships & Nutrition at Feeding America. "We look forward to working with them in the weeks and months to come as we all continue to fight hunger during this critical time."
As part of this announcement, Centene is also providing additional resources to the Feeding America network including:
- Providing SNAP application assistance to those in need
- Identifying employees interested in opportunities to volunteer at local food banks
- Additional localized donations to food banks and restaurant crisis funds in each Centene market
In collaboration with FirstNet®, built with AT&T – the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America's first responders and the extended public safety community – Centene is expediting the rollout of FirstNet that will streamline access to affordable, high-speed wireless broadband services for primary care providers in rural and underserved communities. Using all AT&T LTE bands, FirstNet already covers over 99% of the U.S. population today, but to better serve communities of all sizes, new purpose-built FirstNet cell sites are being built across the country to expand rural and remote coverage. The collaboration will kick off with pilots in four states: Arkansas, Kansas, Georgia and Mississippi.
As a result of the financial hardship COVID-19 has had on these providers, Centene will be extending grants to assist with the upfront investment costs of new devices and equipment. Starting this month, the pilots aim to support Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers and independent practices serving over half a million patients and will expand into additional states over the next few months.
"FirstNet helps strengthen first responders' incident response, connecting them to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. During this pandemic, healthcare personnel across the nation are on the frontlines, and with FirstNet, enabling new ways to provide healthcare, including telehealth," said Jason Porter, senior vice president, FirstNet Program at AT&T. "Centene's investment will enable rural practices to introduce cutting-edge telehealth techniques that will create efficiencies and help those who save lives."
Centene is also working to improve internet access at the consumer level and has committed to purchasing tablets for thousands of community members who lack access to the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company will announce specific details of this initiative as they become available.
Healthcare and Educational Supplies
To ensure community members have access to crucial supplies during this time of need, Centene also announced today that it will be purchasing 50,000 gift cards for use on essential items. The cards will be delivered to local providers and other community resources for distribution to individuals in need. The gift cards, which will have $35 of value each, can be used to purchase essential healthcare and educational items including diapers, over-the counter medicines, cleaning supplies, and books.
This is the first phase of a broader effort to supply essential items across Centene markets. As part of the crisis recovery process, Centene is committed to providing these items to its community partners for distribution to families in need.
*$1 helps to provide at least ten meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.
About Centene Corporation
Centene Corporation, a Fortune 100 company, is a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise that is committed to helping people live healthier lives. The Company takes a local approach – with local brands and local teams - to provide fully integrated, high-quality, and cost-effective services to government-sponsored and commercial healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. Centene offers affordable and high-quality products to nearly 1 in 15 individuals across the nation, including Medicaid and Medicare members (including Medicare Prescription Drug Plans) as well as individuals and families served by the Health Insurance Marketplace, the TRICARE program, and individuals in correctional facilities. The Company also serves several international markets, and contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide a variety of specialty services focused on treating the whole person. Centene focuses on long-term growth and the development of its people, systems and capabilities so that it can better serve its members, providers, local communities, and government partners.
Centene uses its investor relations website to publish important information about the company, including information that may be deemed material to investors. Financial and other information about Centene is routinely posted and is accessible on Centene's investor relations website, http://www.centene.com/investors.
About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
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SOURCE Centene Corporation