SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Aetna Better Health® of Michigan Inc., a CVS Health, announced that Aetna awarded $250,000 in grants to 10 community partners throughout the state to address social determinants of health (SDoH) and advance health equity. The donations will support health care providers and community partners that work to meet health and social care needs, such as those related to physical and mental health, food security, workforce training and housing stability.
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and the Michigan Association of United Ways report that 1.4 million Michiganders fall below the poverty level, and 38% of households struggle to afford necessities such as food, housing, child care, technology, health care and transportation.
“Since having low income is often linked with poor health and life expectancy, those experiencing poverty often need to choose between medicine or keeping a roof over their head,” said Teressa Smith, CEO, Aetna Better Health of Michigan. “By investing in local providers and community organizations, we’re supporting the State in its mission to improve the health and wellbeing of Michiganders who live and work in under-resourced communities.”
Aetna Better Health of Michigan provided $25,000 in investments to each of the following community partners that have aligned their work to one of four categories.
Workforce development: Offering opportunities to build self-sufficiency
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Southwest Michigan – Workforce Development Framework program. Aetna’s funding will help ensure Club members have the skills, knowledge and self-awareness they need to plan and build a viable career.
- Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit – SURGE Center. Aetna’s funding will help provide entry-level employees — who’ve been placed at Goodwill of Greater Detroit’s thrift stores and other Goodwill program employers — with support, resources and solutions to help resolve life issues that threaten to undermine their job retention.
Housing stability: Impacting those in need with the ability to live in a safe environment
- Community Action Agency of South Central Michigan – Rental & Utility Assistance program. Aetna’s funding will help qualified, low-income residents avoid homelessness by providing rental assistance, eviction prevention and funding of first month’s rent/deposit and utility assistance.
- Spectrum Human Services – Operation Healthy Youth, Families and Communities program. Aetna’s funding will help support youth programming, mental and physical health services and staffing resources for adoptive/foster parents and relative caregivers.
Food security: Supporting the critical role that nutrition plays in sustaining good health
- Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes, Inc. – Grocery Pantry Program. Aetna’s funding will help provide for delivery or pickup of a twice-monthly, five- to seven-day supply of nutritious food for individuals and families in need.
- Matrix Human Services – Food for Health Program and Senior Healthy Living Initiative. Aetna’s funding will help support Food Rx packages, nutritional literacy, health screenings and benefit assistance programs for individuals with low-income and have or are predisposed to chronic illness.
- South Michigan Food Bank – Fresh Food and Pantry Staple Distributions Program. Aetna’s funding will help support the purchase, packaging and distribution of fresh and non-perishable foods from local Michigan farms in the summer months and out-of-state growers in the winter months.
Health improvements and social care needs: Reducing barriers to care for improved quality of life
- Wayne Children’s Healthcare Access Program, Inc. – The donation will pay for the organization’s Kids’ Health Connections staff to outreach to Aetna patients at highest risk for immunization delays and engage them with providers to increase immunization rates and screen for lead poisoning, developmental delays and social determinants of health.
- Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance (MiCHWA) – Project E2CHW (Education, Equity & Community Health Workers). Aetna’s funding will provide MiCHWA members with access to on-demand educational trainings, toolkits and resources so they can help patients and clients with wrap-around services and urgent social care need referrals.
- Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) – Medical Respite Program. Aetna’s funding will support NSO’s evidence-based, continuing care strategy for individuals experiencing homelessness. The program offers a safe place for individuals who have completed their acute hospital treatment but are too sick to be in a shelter or on the street.
The health plan has been providing quality care to Michigan Medicaid enrollees under the Aetna Better Health brand since 2014 and is the oldest, continual running Medicaid managed care plan in Michigan since 1973. It currently serves over 53,000 Medicaid enrollees in Southwest and Southeast Michigan through the State’s Comprehensive Health Care Program.
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