Monday, August 18, 2014

Celebrating America’s Health Centers and Healthier Communities

As the health care system changes around us, more people are gaining access to health insurance coverage - yet there are still more than 60 million Americans who do not have access to primary care. According to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), nearly half (42 percent) of these individuals are low-income, 28 percent live in rural areas—and do have health insurance.

That’s where Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) come in.  In the United States, more than 1,200 Centers receive grants under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS) and serve 22 million patients (including more than 920,000 farmworkers and 1,145,000 people who are homeless) at 9,000 locations. The FQHCs qualify for enhanced reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other benefits as long as they assist underserved populations, offer a sliding fee scale, provide comprehensive services, and have an ongoing quality assurance program and a community-based governing board of directors.

UnitedHealthcare helps support Health Centers through a broad network of dedicated health care specialists and hospitals – and the need is great; one out of every 15 people living in the United States seeks primary health care from a Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA)-funded Health Center. As part of our partnership with FQHCs, UnitedHealthcare regularly seeks advice and input from FQHC leaders through our National FQHC Advisory Group; participates in the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) industry conferences; collaborates with local Primary Care Associations (PCA) and, during National Health Center Week each year, takes time to recognize our nine-year involvement and shared mission to help people live healthier lives regardless of their age, income or ability. 

Last week UnitedHealthcare celebrated National Health Center Week with centers across the country, we are thankful for each and every one of our partners and the commitment we share to help people access the quality health care services they deserve.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

PA’s Diverse Scholars attend health forum in D.C.

Meet Sophia Barrios, a sophomore majoring in bio-behavioral health at Pennsylvania State University who intends to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine and serve underrepresented communities, particularly children. Sophia is the secretary of Penn State’s Latino Caucus, an umbrella organization for 19 Latino organizations, and a 2014 United Health Foundation Diverse Scholar.

Chiemeka Onyima of Philadelphia’s East Falls/Germantown area is a first year medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine. He holds a bachelor of science in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.  Onyima intends to become an anesthesiologist and specialize in pain medicine. He hopes to devote much of his career to developing hospitals and improving health care in West Africa.

Sophia and Chiemeka were awarded scholarships from United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative to pursue careers in primary health care. 

United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative, will award nearly $2 million in scholarships during the 2014-15 school years to students from diverse, multicultural backgrounds. The initiative aims to increase diversity in the health care workforce by supporting promising future health professionals as they pursue their education. The Diverse Scholars program is part of United Health Foundation’s ongoing commitment to building a more diverse health workforce.

Since 2007, United Health Foundation has awarded more than 1,400 scholarships totaling $9.3 million to support diverse students pursing health careers.

United Health Foundation announced the 2014-15 scholarships at its sixth annual Diverse Scholars Forum. This year’s forum is the largest yet, bringing more than 100 scholarship recipients to Washington, D.C., from July 23 to 26, to celebrate their accomplishments and inspire them to work toward strengthening the nation's health care system. This year's forum provided the scholars with opportunities to hear from members of Congress and leaders in a variety of health fields, and to network with and learn from one another.

Congratulations to Sophia, Chiemeka and all of the scholarship recipients. I look forward to the celebrating the advances in health care that will come from your dedication and commitment to helping all Americans.

For more information about the Diverse Scholars Initiative, visit http://www.unitedhealthfoundation.org/Initiatives/FutureHealthWorkforce/DiverseScholars.aspx