Expanding access to comprehensive health care for rural and low-income Indiana communities
The United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group, has awarded a $2 million, three-year grant to HealthNet Inc., a nonprofit health care provider serving Indiana, to expand access to primary and behavioral health care in Morgan and Monroe counties in Indiana, as well as high-poverty areas in Indianapolis.
"I'm very pleased to see expanded access to medical services coming to our community by way of this grant funding," said Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville). "Providing increased access to mental health services and preventative screenings is important, and I hope to see positive outcomes for Hoosiers in our area."
HealthNet will bring medical professionals and a mobile health vehicle to neighborhoods in Indianapolis and Morgan and Monroe counties four days a week starting in February. The program will address health disparities by:
- Bringing primary care, preventive services and mental health screenings to underserved communities.
- Providing high-risk patients with at-home monitoring devices to track their own health.
- Making referrals to dental care, substance use disorder treatment, and other needed specialty care and health supports for patients.
“This partnership will help HealthNet advance our mission of improving lives with compassionate health care and support services, regardless of ability to pay,” said Rick Diaz, president and chief executive officer of HealthNet. “We are grateful for the support to reach people who would not otherwise have access to primary and behavioral care.”
Amid the early years of the pandemic, Indiana saw declines in preventive care with an 11% decline in wellness visits, a 10% decline in breast cancer screenings, and a 20% decline in colon cancer screenings between 2019 and 2020, according to UnitedHealthcare data. To address these challenges and others, the HealthNet-United Health Foundation partnership is expected to improve adult and child immunization rates, breast cancer screenings and colorectal cancer screenings by 15%, as well as improve cervical cancer screenings by 20% over baseline. Additionally, the partnership aims to improve health outcomes of individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
“The United Health Foundation is honored to partner with HealthNet to serve residents of Indiana who currently lack access to the care they need,” said Kim Sonerholm, CEO of UnitedHealthcare for Indiana and Kentucky. “Too often, people of color, historically marginalized groups, rural populations and those with lower incomes face a disproportionate number of barriers to high-quality health care. We believe this partnership will improve health equity for residents of Indiana.”
The commitment in Indiana is one of many ways UnitedHealth Group is working to advance health equity by ensuring every person, regardless of race, place or circumstance, has the opportunity to live their healthiest life. For example, through its Genoa Healthcare offering, the company creates a more seamless experience for vulnerable patients by providing pharmacy care services in the same facilities in which they receive medical care. Another example is the UnitedHealthcare Catalyst initiative where the company works with community partners and academic institutions to develop and implement interventions. To learn more about the company’s commitment to health equity as well as its efforts to build healthier communities, improve outcomes and create a modern, high-performing health care system, please visit the company’s sustainability website at https://sustainability.uhg.com/.