DETROIT, May 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people across Michigan are facing challenges that extend beyond medical care. These challenges include basic daily needs such as access to food and essential supplies. In response, Meridian, a subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading multi-national healthcare company, is helping to increase access by supporting community-based organizations and programs across the state.
Social determinants of health are non-medical barriers to achieving quality health outcomes. They include socioeconomic and environmental factors such as food accessibility, employment, education and more. Research shows that medical care accounts for approximately 10 to 20% of health outcomes, while the other 80 to 90% is affected by social determinants of health.
"The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic extend far beyond medical care, impacting access to food, education and other critical resources across our state," said Sean Kendall, Meridian Plan President and CEO for Michigan. "These social determinants of health have a significant impact on overall wellbeing, especially among vulnerable populations, and Meridian wants to help ensure we're supporting the needs of our communities during this challenging time."
Hunger and Food Insecurity The demand on food banks has significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Feeding America, a national hunger relief nonprofit, estimates these organizations will need an additional $1.4 billion in funding during the next six months to provide food assistance to people facing hunger. In partnership with Feeding America, Centene and Meridian will coordinate a donation of 1 million meals a month for the next 12 months to feed those in Michigan and across the country.
To further address food insecurity in Michigan, Meridian donated $45,000 to seven food banks across the state to help purchase meals for local residents.
"In Jackson County, nearly 14% of households were food insecure before the COVID-19 pandemic. With food insecurity increasing during this crisis, the philanthropic support of organizations like Meridian is more important than ever," said Brad Patterson, Development Director for the Salvation Army of Jackson County Michigan. "We are very grateful and encouraged by Meridian's most thoughtful donation to our food support programs."
Essential Supplies Meridian also purchased more than $60,000 worth of Walmart gift cards for use on essential healthcare and educational supplies. Each gift card holds a value of $35 and can be used to purchase essential items like diapers, over-the-counter medicines, cleaning supplies and books.
"So many needs have been compounded by COVID-19. Neighbors who have lost their jobs need food. Students who can't attend school need computers and internet access. Sick individuals require a safe place to visit their doctors or to pick up prescriptions. Everyone needs a mask and gloves and hand sanitizer," said Rev. Faith Fowler, Executive Director, Cass Community Social Services. "At Cass Community Social Services, we have been working tirelessly to address these urgent needs, while continuing to serve those who are experiencing hunger, homelessness, mental illness, or unemployment. We are so grateful to Meridian for their generous and thoughtful support."
About Meridian Meridian in Michigan and WellCare of Michigan provide government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs primarily through Medicaid (MeridianHealth), Medicare Advantage (WellCare), Medicare-Medicaid Plans (MeridianComplete), Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (WellCare) and the Health Insurance Marketplace (MeridianChoice) across the state. Meridian and WellCare are wholly owned subsidiaries of Centene Corporation, a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise committed to helping people live healthier lives. For more information about Meridian, please visit www.mhplan.com. For more information about WellCare, please visit www.wellcare.com/michigan.