During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, people across Kentucky are facing challenges that extend beyond medical care and include basic daily needs such as food, internet connectivity, and essential supplies.
Social determinants of health are non-medical barriers to achieving quality health outcomes. They include socioeconomic and environment factors such as food accessibility, employment, education, and more. Research shows that medical care accounts for approximately 10 to 20 percent of health outcomes, while the other 80 to 90 percent is affected by the social determinants of health.
“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are far-reaching and have extended beyond medical care to affect people’s access to food, employment, connectivity, and more,” said Bill Jones, chief executive officer, WellCare of Kentucky. “These social determinants of health have a significant impact on people’s overall wellbeing, especially among vulnerable populations. WellCare wants to help ensure we’re supporting the additional needs of communities during this challenging time.”
Hunger and Food Security
The demand on food banks has significantly increased during this pandemic, and it’s estimated that these organizations will need an additional $1.4 billion in funding during the next six months to provide food assistance to people facing hunger.
As part of its effort to address hunger and food security, WellCare is distributing $250,000 in donations to nonprofit organizations around the state, particularly those that assist with food security.
The money is being distributed to nonprofits in every region – and to some that serve the entire state. The statewide donations include:
Team Kentucky Fund, formed by Gov. Andy Beshear to support families adversely affected by COVID-19
Feeding Kentucky, which serves Kentuckians in all 120 counties through 800 local food pantries
Family Resource and Youth Service Centers (FRYSC) which provides support to students at risk for hunger or homelessness
God’s Food Pantry, which typically serves 80,000 people a year in Eastern Kentucky
Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, who is working to assist other local nonprofits that have had to cancel fundraisers
Family Service Society, who provides assistance to those with needs such as food, clothing, prescription medications, emergency dental, utility assistance, personal hygiene items, and household goods
Crossroads, who provides food to people experiencing poverty and homelessness
HOTEL Inc., a food pantry that makes home deliveries to people that are food insecure
Action Ministries, who serves anyone in northern Kentucky that needs assistance with food
The Neighborhood, consists of seven nonprofits in one location to offer assistance with food, utilities, and health and hygiene products to reduce homelessness
Kentucky Nonprofit Networks, who is the state association of nonprofit organizations.
WellCare has been supporting Kentucky residents since 2011 across its Medicaid and Medicare plans. Their efforts to address the social determinants of health reinforce their long-standing commitment to supporting the whole health of their communities, one person at a time.