Forming a catalyst for better health in Washington state

UnitedHealthcare Catalyst in Washington state

To advance health, equity, and well-being of Washington State community residents, UnitedHealthcare Community & State is using targeted public data and partnering at the local level to address the unique needs of many cities and counties across the country face. The model, called UnitedHealthcare Catalyst™, combines that data with partners, such as the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA), public housing agencies, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and community-based organizations to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequities.

To date, UnitedHealthcare has implemented the Catalyst model in 22 U.S. cities and counties.

For example, in the Seattle, a lack of access to primary health care has been identified as a major issue for those in public housing — where roughly 80% of residents identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC).

The long-term goal is to help community organizations build capacity, leading to sustainable solutions that ultimately improve the health of the community.

This will be done through:

  • Creating and strengthening local cross-sector partnerships in Seattle and King County, including King County Housing Authority and CommonSpirit Health
  • Integrating clinical and social-economic data on a zip-code level, with the engagement and support of its community partners, to generate new market insights and solutions
  • Improve health outcomes for all Medicaid beneficiaries and their families and the larger community

“By focusing on specific parts of the local population, we will be able create systems of care that better addresses the unique needs of our diverse population and historical sources of care fragmentation,” said Ben Miksch, strategy leader for its social determinants initiatives for UnitedHealthcare Community & State in Washington State. “The rationale of UnitedHealthcare Catalyst is to bring organizations together around the population we all serve, our valued Medicaid members.”

As key partners come together to address health equity challenges, the model provides a sense of proper scale to promote a positive impact in the community. Linking health and housing data has led to unique insights, and the data can provide a lens into what is working — and what isn’t.

"A significant amount of the challenges standing in the way of health and health equity are tied to unique issues within each community," said Catherine Anderson, the senior vice president of policy and strategy at UnitedHealthcare Community & State. "Without a data-informed approach, you're throwing resources at challenges that may not be the right ones for that community."

UnitedHealthcare Catalyst is not a single grant or pilot program, but rather a multi-year, long-term investment in the community that is only getting started, and that can be adjusted as needs change and insights deepen. It’s ultimately a way to dismantle structural inequities in health care and build a blueprint for thriving, healthy communities.

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