The award will help community outreach group Goodwill Kentucky operate a jobs training program addressing social determinants of health.
A new grant program from UnitedHealthcare will help a Kentucky-based community outreach group address the social determinants of health through a jobs training program.
The grant, which totals to $90,000 and has been awarded to Goodwill Industries of Kentucky (Goodwill Kentucky), will focus on jobs training for low-income individuals and those involved in the criminal justice system and who are re-entering society.
The grant will specifically benefit Goodwill Kentucky RISE, which stands for Reintegrating Individuals Successfully Every Day. RISE focuses on jobs and skills training, as well as offers health and wellness education and literacy classes.
The RISE program also helps individuals get their records expunged where possible, erasing certain cases from their records. This is a key step toward getting a job for some recently incarcerated individuals.
Access to a consistent job is a key social determinant of health that impacts numerous other lifestyle factors that can affect health. Individuals with a job have a steady source of income that makes it easier to find a place to live and healthy food to eat. For some, it may also help connect them to employer-sponsored health insurance and other benefits.
This grant comes as a part of UnitedHealthcare’s efforts to address the social determinants of health. Healthcare payers are increasingly focusing not only on beneficiary physical health, but social health as well. This latest grant opportunity is one example of that, said Amy Johnston, the CEO of the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kentucky.
“At UnitedHealthcare, we look at an individual’s medical needs, but also at behavioral, functional and social needs, which are supported by programs like RISE,” Johnston said in a statement. “The unique value that managed care offers Kentuckians includes working with community-based organizations to identify and address areas that affect health outcomes and quality of life. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Goodwill Kentucky on this program.”
The specific programs involved in RISE are especially important for low-income individuals or those who usually struggle to access healthcare and experience a number of social determinants of health.
“An integral part of our mission is to empower ‘second chance’ participants to achieve economic independence through professional skills training and educational development tools,” said Dennis Ritchie, career services manager of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky. “Our partnership with UnitedHealthcare helps address a unique set of challenges for our population to get them on a path to self-sufficiency.”
The RISE program plans to use the funding to expand its program within the next year. Specifically, Goodwill Kentucky plans to move 200 individuals successfully through its program within one year.
As noted above, access to stable employment is a key social determinant of health, primarily because of the impacts on numerous other aspects of a patient’s physical and social health.
A 2018 data brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation noted that there is scant evidence suggesting a connection between employment and good health. Instead, there is a clearer connection between poor health and job loss.
“There is limited evidence on the effect of employment on health, with some studies showing a positive effect of work on health yet others showing no relationship or isolated effects,” the researchers wrote. “Being in poor health is associated with increased risk of job loss, while access to affordable health insurance has a positive effect on people’s ability to obtain and maintain employment.”
Additionally, there are numerous caveats to addressing job access as a social determinant of health. Data shows that working conditions can impact patient health, KFF researchers said.
Nonetheless, being employed can help ameliorate other social determinants of health. Wages earned through a job can help an individual pay rent, purchase nutritious food, and in some cases obtain employer-sponsored health insurance.
In connecting patients with a steady job source, healthcare payers and community health workers can work to address other underlying social determinants of health.
Date: July 07, 2019
Source: Patient Engagement HIT