NEW YORK, June 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthify, the leading company integrating the social determinants of health (SDoH) into healthcare, today announced the distribution of grants to several community-based organizations to address food and housing insecurity in Kansas City and Topeka. With support from Acumen America, Healthify is partnering with local charitable organizations and transportation companies to provide food, rent and utilities support to meet the needs of vulnerable residents. Healthify is distributing funds to support community-based organizations and deploying the infrastructure to seamlessly coordinate food delivery and vouchers for rent and utilities. This rapidly deployed innovative model can serve as a model for other communities with increased social services needs due to the pandemic.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated social needs and is shining a light on the role social services play in addressing the overall health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations," said Cesar Herrera, Chief Solutions Officer at Healthify. "There is a clear link between social disparities and health outcomes, yet in many communities the infrastructure does not exist to integrate healthcare with social services. We are proud to play a leading role in directing targeted interventions to help people in Kansas City and Topeka who are struggling with food and housing insecurity."
Healthify was founded by community health workers, healthcare professionals and public policy experts to help improve health outcomes by connecting families to social services as part of its efforts to build a world where no one's health is hindered by their need. Healthify creates the infrastructure that drives collaboration among community-based organizations, payers, providers and policy makers to address food insecurity, housing instability, access to medical care and other social needs with aligned incentives and accountability. Through grant funding from Acumen America's COVID Emergency Facility, Healthify is supporting the following initiatives:
Food Delivery in Kansas City
Kansas City is suffering from a lack of existing infrastructure for meal delivery. Many of its critical food suppliers and food banks were not set up for a delivery model, now required because of social distancing requirements and the closing of senior community centers in response to the pandemic, leaving a surplus of food in storage and many residents without access to much-needed nutrition. Grants will be distributed to three community organizations, Food Equality Initiative, Community Health Council of Wyandotte County and Mid-America Regional Council, which will coordinate the distribution of food to households in need via Ride Health and other transportation providers.
"The pandemic completely changed our approach to meals. Deliveries have increased by 85%, mainly among vulnerable adults who are self-isolating or have seen other food access pathways blocked by the pandemic," said James Stowe, Director of Aging and Adult Services at Mid-America Regional Council. "Through new resources and partnerships, such as with Healthify, we can continue to increase our capacity and ensure all our clients have healthy meals delivered to them."
Rent and Utilities Support in Topeka
Many residents of Topeka have experienced job loss or underemployment due to COVID-19 and, consequently, are in need of financial assistance to pay for utilities and rent. The funding will support rent and utilities vouchers for Topeka households that are at risk. Healthify has partnered with United Way of Greater Topeka, which will disburse the funds to Community Action for distribution to residents in need of support. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is the sponsor of Healthify in Topeka through their Blue Health Initiatives.
"Dealing with housing instability can put people at risk for poorer physical and mental health outcomes," said Tawny Stottlemire, Executive Director at Community Action. "This funding will help ensure we can help our community neighbors have the resources to pay rent and utilities so they can stay safe and secure in their homes."
"The COVID-19 crisis is disproportionately threatening some of the most vulnerable people in America," said Amon Anderson, Director at Acumen. "People living in low-income communities face a number of socioeconomic and health factors that put them at increased risk for infections and complications from the disease. As the damage from the pandemic rages on, it's critical that we act quickly to meet the urgent needs of these vulnerable communities, and to support recovery and resilience. We're proud to support Healthify and community-based organizations in Kansas City and Topeka in their efforts to ensure those in need have access to critical health and social services."
For more information about the impact of COVID-19 on social determinants of health and resources for community-based organizations, please visit https://www.healthify.us/cbo-resource-center.
Powered by a mission to build a world where no one's health is hindered by their need, Healthify builds the infrastructure to support social determinants of health initiatives at scale. The company builds and manages accountable networks of community-based organizations and provides the necessary interoperable technology platform to allow the healthcare sector to coordinate care within the network. Healthify works with health plans, providers and community partners in all fifty states and is dedicated to community partner sustainability and demonstrating ROI for social service interventions to ensure that families receive the services they need to thrive. For more information, please visit www.healthify.us or connect with us on LinkedIn or Twitter.
Acumen is changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest patient capital in businesses whose products and services are enabling the poor to transform their lives. Founded by Jacqueline Novogratz in 2001, Acumen has invested more than $131 million in 131 companies across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States. We are also developing a global community of emerging leaders with the knowledge, skills and determination to create a more inclusive world. Learn more at www.acumen.org.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
For more than 75 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has built a reputation of trust with its members and contracting providers by providing outstanding customer service while quickly and accurately processing claims; fairly administering benefit plans and contracts; offering programs, services and tools to help members improve or maintain their health; and operating under the highest ethical standards while being good stewards of premium dollars. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is the state's largest insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information, visit bcbsks.com.