CVS Health invests $13.7 million to renovate low-income housing, fund community programs in Columbus

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Investment in South Linden’s Rosewind community kicks-off the company’s nearly $600 million commitment to address racial inequality

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced it will invest $13.7 million to help renovate 230 low-income housing units at the Rosewind apartments in Columbus, Ohio. These funds will also be used to make significant improvements to the local community center and support new community programs in the area.

The investment kicks-off the company’s commitment of nearly $600 million over five years to address racial inequality and social determinants of health in Black communities.  This commitment includes an emphasis on increasing access to affordable housing, which is inextricably linked to health.

“When people have access to high-quality, affordable housing, it puts them in a better position to improve their overall wellbeing, including taking care of their health or managing a chronic disease,” said David Casey, Chief Diversity Officer, CVS Health. “One aspect of our commitment to address racial inequality is addressing social determinants of health – like housing – at the community level, which is where we can make a meaningful impact.” 

CVS Health will work with the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) and the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing on the project.  Through CVS Health’s investment, CMHA will spend $50,000 per unit in much-needed rehab and repairs. 
  
“The redevelopment of Rosewind is part of CMHA’s $250 million investment in affordable housing in 2020,” said CMHA President and CEO Charles Hillman. “Stable housing provides a solid foundation, but people also need access to health care, employment, training and other services to reach their fullest potential. We’re excited to collaborate with CVS Health to provide new opportunities for our residents and revitalize the Linden community.”
 
Within the Rosewind complex in the South Linden neighborhood of Columbus, 95% of residents are Black and have an average annual household income of less than $17,000.  Average life expectancy in South Linden is just under 70 years – more than seven years shorter than the average in all of Franklin County, which includes Columbus and certain neighboring communities.

“Housing and health care go hand-in-hand, and health outcomes are impacted by housing affordability and stability,” said Peg Moertl, President and CEO, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing. “We are pleased to be working with CVS Health and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority to provide quality housing, economic support, and educational training opportunities to those families and individuals facing challenges in the Linden community.”

The renovations, as well as new community programming funded by CVS Health, will provide comprehensive local support to residents, including the following new on-site programs:

  • Health and wellness programming through CMHA and the Healthcare Collaborative of Greater Columbus to provide individuals with the best health care experience possible on-site;

  • On-site health screenings and COVID-19 testing to bring preventative health care services directly to the community, especially as the pandemic continues to expose health disparities among the Black population;

  • An educational cooking series with the nonprofit organization Local Matters, to increase access to fresh, nutritious foods and teach residents how to make healthy and tasty meals, which will improve their overall health outcomes;

  • Maternal programs – with 8.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in Franklin County and 25.7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in South Linden, there will be a new program to support maternal health at Rosewind that will equip new and pregnant mothers with parenting resources; 

  • Community programs where individuals will have the opportunity to have an open dialogue about the root causes of systemic inequalities and barriers.

CVS Health will also establish a new program at Rosewind as part of its ongoing workforce initiatives to provide employment services and training to the Rosewind community, focused on empowerment and building local relationships that will help community members achieve meaningful employment opportunities. 

"Finding ways to encourage housing that is affordable to everyone is not just the right thing to do," said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. "It helps the region remain competitive in attracting and retaining businesses."

Since 1997, CVS Health and Aetna, a CVS Health company, have invested more than $1 billion in affordable housing and community initiatives. In 2019, the company invested $67 million in affordable housing across the country, and the company plans to exceed that amount over each of the next five years to help address housing insecurities and promote community health improvement in Black communities. 

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company. We’re evolving based on changing consumer needs and meeting people where they are, whether that’s in the community at one of our nearly 10,000 local touchpoints, in the home, or in the palm of their hand. Our newest offerings – from HealthHUB® locations that are redefining what a pharmacy can be, to innovative programs that help manage chronic conditions – are designed to create a higher-quality, simpler and more affordable experience. Learn more about how we’re transforming health at www.cvshealth.com.

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The mission to “Unite Us”

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As a person experiencing homelessness, Michael Fields’ biggest challenge in addiction recovery was not simply achieving sobriety but finding the social support to maintain it. 

“I ended up back on the street every time, back in drug addiction,” says the 45-year-old West Virginia native who completed several treatment programs. “When you’re in recovery, you have to change everything about your life, or you change nothing.”

Michael’s story illustrates how social determinants of health can directly influence a person’s wellbeing outside a doctor’s office – with factors like affordable housing, food insecurity and education impacting up to 80% of health incomes.

William Turley does his laundry inside the Peer Center (a drop-in center for individuals experiencing homelessness) in Charleston, West Virginia.
William Turley does his laundry inside the Peer Center (a drop-in center for individuals experiencing homelessness) on Thursday, June 4, 2020, in Charleston, West Virginia. (Credit: Chris Cone/CVS Health)

To build healthier communities, especially during these unprecedented times where COVID-19 has contributed to massive layoffs and fewer resources for assistance, CVS Health and Unite Us launched a digital social care network in Central West Virginia. It provides essential services around substance abuse and mental and behavioral health. It also addresses other crucial needs such as employment, education, housing and food security.

“As an extension of our traditional plan offerings, we’re helping vulnerable community members access the non-clinical resources they need to improve their everyday health,” says R.J. Briscione, senior director of Social Determinants of Health Strategy & Execution at Aetna, a CVS Health Company.

Aetna, according to R.J. will also make the Unite Us network available to its Medicaid and dual-eligible Medicaid/Medicare customers in the region.

“This network opens up a whole new world to people who have access to limited resources,” says Jim Smallridge, RN, manager, Community Development for Aetna Better Health of West Virginia. “It’s an extension of possibilities for so many people in need.”

Amanda sits in the parking lot outside the United Way Drop-in Peer Center in Charleston, West Virginia.
Amanda sits in the parking lot outside the United Way Drop-in Peer Center in Charleston, West Virginia. She looks forward to the services she will be provided.

Looking toward the future, CVS Health and Unite Us are looking to provide similar networks in Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Today, because he’s found the support he so badly needed through this program, Michael Fields now has greater hope for long-term sobriety. The United Way, a local Unite Us member, helped him apply for housing and food assistance. He’s also applying for a grant that would allow him to attend a local technical college.

“I’m definitely not taking anything for granted. I’m working every day to keep everything I’ve got,” he says. “It isn’t much, but it’s a whole lot more than I’ve had for a long time.”

Non-profit soup kitchen Manna Meal, a partner of Unite Us, prepares to serve meals June 4, 2020, in Charleston, West Virginia.
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20 U.S. cities and counties pledge to improve local systems and policies to advance health equity with $2 million in grants from the Aetna Foundation

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APHA, NACo and Healthy Places by Design to collaborate on capacity-building efforts to accelerate community change

WASHINGTON — The Aetna Foundation, together with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), today announced the organizations selected to receive a grant as part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge to support communities that are changing the way they work together across sectors to reduce disparities in chronic disease outcomes. This grant program will award a total of $2 million to teams of organizations that will work together to change the food access and health care systems in their communities and engage community residents as leaders in their work.

"Access to health care and healthy food can significantly impact rates of chronic disease and other health outcomes, with average life spans varying by up to 20-30 years in communities that are just a few miles apart," said Aetna Foundation President Eileen Howard Boone. "We are proud to partner with APHA and NACo to support the work of the teams taking on the Healthiest and Cities & Counties Challenge to drive change and address these social determinants of health work that is now more important than ever, given the COVID-19 pandemic."

The Challenge teams will each receive $100,000 to implement multi-year projects to advance health equity in communities where individuals are disproportionately impacted by health disparities. In addition to the funding, Challenge teams will participate in one-on-one technical assistance provided by APHA and NACo and co-create a supportive peer-learning network led by Healthy Places by Design over the course of the two years.

The project teams are located in the following cities and counties:

  • Chula Vista, California

  • Tompkins County, New York

  • Collier County, Florida

  • Cumberland County, North Carolina

  • Deerfield Beach, Florida

  • Wilkes County, North Carolina

  • Dougherty County, Georgia

  • Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Cumming/Forsyth County, Georgia

  • Cleveland, Ohio

  • Perry County, Kentucky

  • Cambria County, Pennsylvania

  • New Brunswick, New Jersey

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Paterson, New Jersey

  • Kerrville, Texas

  • Orange County, New York

  • Greenbrier County, West Virginia

  • Rochester, New York

  • Wheeling, West Virginia

"There is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving health equity," said APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD. "Successful, lasting change comes from cross-sector partnerships and engaging affected individuals and communities, which is why this challenge is so powerful. Together, communities in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge will be able to achieve enduring transformations to public health."

Added NACo President Mary Ann Borgeson, "Counties play an essential role in protecting, promoting and improving health in our communities across the country. The Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge recognizes the positive impact of cross-sector partnerships and offers opportunities for counties to develop innovative approaches to meet residents' health needs."

The project teams intend to use what they learn over the next two years to produce models and resources that can inform work in other similarly sized cities and counties across the country. Challenge communities have proposed strategies including:

  • Increasing access points for purchasing fresh produce and receiving health care;

  • Leveraging local schools as partners;

  • Addressing barriers to transportation;

  • Building more equitable models for food procurement and distribution;

  • Increasing coordination and data-sharing across organizations;

  • Improving health care referral systems;

  • Developing community advisory boards; and

  • Informing local policies.

An expert review panel selected the teams following a rigorous review process, which looked at a variety of factors including: level of innovation of their proposed approaches; intended impacts on systems and policy change; and alignment of diverse partners around common priorities.

The Aetna Foundation, which first launched the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge in partnership with APHA and NACo in 2016, is an independent, charitable and philanthropic affiliate of CVS Health.

The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public's health.

Contact

Erin Britt
CVS Health
401-318-3962

APHA Media Relations
202-777-3913

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From homelessness to health: Our commitment

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A photo of Kevin Duvall in his home.
After caring for his mother and losing his family home, Kevin Duvall faced a decade of homelessness. Today, as a resident of Sequoia Commons, he has security and a future.

Kevin Duvall was homeless. Today, thanks to CVS Health’s commitment to affordable housing, he has a home and a future.
 
After years of homelessness, food insecurity, and even drinking from gutters, 59-year-old Kevin Duvall still feels overwhelmed knowing he can cook his own food, pour a clean glass of water and eat a healthy meal in his own home.

Kevin cared for his mother for years and took a reverse mortgage on their house to make ends meet. When the bank reclaimed his home, and possessions, after her death, Kevin carried two photo albums in a backpack through a decade of homelessness.

Today, he lives at Sequoia Commons — a 66-unit affordable rental community in California’s San Joaquin Valley funded in part by CVS Health and built by Self-Help Enterprises – for residents who face challenges such as homelessness or chronic illness. “It's changed everything to have a place to live,” he says. “I was ready to give up.”

An aerial photo of the Sequoia Commons housing development neighborhood.
CVS Health contributed 20 million dollars towards the 66 low-income units at Sequoia Commons — one of many housing investments across the country. The facility includes on-site resident services such as job training and health and medical services.
A photo of Keli Savage, Sr. Director Investment Strategy, and Chet Uma, CEO Aetna Better Health of CA., visiting Sequoia Commons for the grand opening February 14, 2020.
Keli Savage, Sr. Director Investment Strategy, and Chet Uma, CEO Aetna Better Health of CA., visit Sequoia Commons for the grand opening February 14, 2020.

Investing beyond the pharmacy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 60% of a person’s life expectancy is influenced by everyday activities that take place outside the doctor’s office. These social determinants of health include access to affordable housing, reliable transportation, quality schools and health care.

“Among other things, research shows that a safe, secure home has a positive impact on behavioral health, childhood asthma and birth outcomes.” says Dr. Garth Graham, Vice President of Community Health and Impact at CVS Health. Social determinants of health, he says, can vary not just by zip code, but by destinations as specific as a neighborhood block or bus stop.

CVS Health is committed to reaching beyond its retail pharmacy counters to build healthy communities. “In 2019 we invested $67 million in affordable housing to create over 2,200 affordable homes in six states, including California,” explains Keli Savage, head of Impact Investment Strategy. “In 2020, we have committed an additional $75 million in investments.”

CVS Health is also collaborating with Self-Help and community partners to provide on-site resident services including English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, job training and on-site health and medical services like flu shots, screenings and health clinics.

Kevin understands better than most the inextricable link between affordable housing and the opportunity to live a healthier life. He says his new home enables him to be stable, self-sufficient and to care for his own health challenges as he ages. “I have a place to put my photo albums now,” he says, with pride.

An aerial photo of the Sequoia Commons housing development neighborhood.
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Making communities stronger by volunteering time, talent and resources

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Just one example of how we’re making communities stronger by encouraging employees to volunteer their time, talent and resources to local organizations.
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Working part-time, Maria Martinez does her best to support her two kids, but sometimes it’s not enough to make ends meet. After falling behind on her gas bill, she needed help.

That’s when she attended a “Keep the Power On” utility clinic and connected with a group of CVS Health lawyers working pro bono to help Hartford residents struggling to pay their utility bills — just one example of how we’re making communities stronger by encouraging employees to volunteer their time, talent and resources to local organizations.

“Being a lawyer, you are an advocate, so instead of advocating for the company, I'm now advocating for an individual,” says Jen Corvo, CVS Health counsel. “Pro bono programs like this are great because we are meeting people at something that really does affect their daily life.”

Watch the video to see how we’re reaching out and helping community members like Maria.

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CVS Health Invests $67 Million in Affordable Housing Across the Country in 2019

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Company plans to exceed that amount in 2020 to help address housing insecurities and promote community health improvement

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — To help provide support to underserved populations across the country, CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) invested $67 million in affordable housing in 2019. The investments helped to create more than 2,200 affordable homes with supportive services for individuals and families across 24 cities in six states.

CVS Health's investments in affordable housing as well as collaborations with community groups in these areas help provide support for at-risk individuals. Through the 2019 investments, nearly 300 Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units will be made available for residents who are victims of domestic violence, experiencing homelessness, affected by chronic illness, requiring behavioral health and addiction treatment or are challenged by similar life and health situations. There are 450 additional units dedicated to housing seniors, 59 units reserved specifically for veterans and their families, and 38 units dedicated to housing American Indian individuals and their families.

"Providing affordable housing options to people who are facing significant challenges can be their first step on a path to better health," said Karen S. Lynch, Executive Vice President, CVS Health and President, Aetna Business Unit. "However, we understand that more support is often needed - that is why we work with community organizations to provide access to services such as independent living skills, cooking and nutrition, financial literacy, health information classes, resident outreach and engagement, client centered treatment plans and social support."

Efforts to address housing insecurity are a core part of Destination: Health, a series of CVS Health business programs focused on helping people improve their health outside of a clinical setting.

Since 1997, CVS Health and Aetna, a CVS Health company, have combined to invest more than $1 billion in affordable housing and community investments. These investments have led to the building and renovation of over 93,000 affordable rental units, positively impacting hundreds of thousands of low-income individuals, families, and seniors.

Commitment to California

While CVS Health has invested in affordable housing in different locations across the country, California is a specific focus of the investment strategy.

"We have made more than $160 million of affordable housing investments in California over the past twenty years, including nearly $50 million in the past two years alone," said Kristen Miranda, California Market President for Aetna, a CVS Health company. "These investments are helping to address the unique needs of residents in California, helping to improve health at both the individual and community level. We will continue to look for opportunities where we can invest to support those who need it the most throughout the state."

Recent examples of investments in California include:

  • In February 2020, in partnership with CREA, LLC, CVS Health is closing an $8.1M commitment to finance the development of 85 affordable housing units in collaboration with the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) and New Directions for Veterans (New Directions). 63 units are reserved for people experiencing homelessness (44 specifically for veterans). Through our work with ELACC and New Directions, residents will have access to services such as after school tutoring, employment services, substance use treatment, legal assistance, peer support and advocacy and medication management.

  • On February 14, 2020, CVS Health is sponsoring the grand opening of Sequoia Commons in Goshen, CA, a 66-unit low-income community made possible by funding support from CVS Health, the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Red Stone Equity Partners and Pacific Western Bank. CVS Health is collaborating with the developer, Self Help Enterprises, to help provide a robust program of on-site resident services, including job training, health and medical services, financial training and homebuyer education.

  • In December 2019, CVS Health closed on a $25 million commitment to Red Stone Equity 2019 CA Regional Fund, L.P., an investment fund designed to construct and/or rehabilitate over 500 units of affordable housing in five cities throughout California. These units will be offered to a wide range of individuals, including those requiring mental health services, seniors, as well as veterans and their families.

  • In November 2019, CVS Health sponsored the grand opening of Bishop Street Studios in San Luis Obispo, CA, an abandoned orphanage that was transformed into 33 affordable Permanent Supportive Housing units for individuals with mental health issues through funding support from CVS Health, the Transitions-Mental Health Association (THMA) and the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo.

Investments Across the Country

In addition to California, CVS Health's 2019 affordable housing investments were spread across the country to locations in Georgia, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Oregon and Texas. In 2020, CVS Health expects to surpass 2019 investment totals and the number of states impacted, with $25 million committed to investments in Ohio and another $50 million in investments currently being underwritten coast to coast.

Some of these investments will have grand openings during 2020, helping local community members with access to new affordable housing options. Examples include the following investments made in partnership with Hunt Capital Partners, LLC:

  • Mistletoe Station in Fort Worth, TX, a new 74-unit affordable housing development including units set aside for veterans, farm workers, women experiencing violence, persons with disabilities, HIV/AIDS diagnoses or who are experiencing homeless.

  • Union Landing Apartments in Union City, GA, a new 240-unit development helping Fulton County's low to moderate income individuals and families access affordable housing and services.

"We recognize the strong connection between housing and health," said Keli Savage, Head of Impact Investment Strategy, CVS Health. "We are focused on cultivating the right relationships with community organizations across the country and combining strategic investments in housing with services to address the specific needs of our communities."

About CVS Health

CVS Health is the nation's premier health innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Whether in one of its pharmacies or through its health services and plans, CVS Health is pioneering a bold new approach to total health by making quality care more affordable, accessible, simple and seamless. CVS Health is community-based and locally focused, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it. The Company has approximately 9,900 retail locations, approximately 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with approximately 102 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year and expanding specialty pharmacy services. CVS Health also serves an estimated 38 million people through traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including rapidly expanding Medicare Advantage offerings and a leading standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The Company believes its innovative health care model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.

Media Contact

Ethan Slavin
860-273-6095
SlavinE@aetna.com

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The impact of our investments

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Officials cut the ribbon on a mixed-income community in Georgia.
Our recent investments have included Gateway Pointe, a mixed-income community in Georgia that celebrated its ribbon-cutting (above) in the fall of 2019.

Since 1997, CVS Health and Aetna, a CVS Health company, have combined to invest more than $1 billion in affordable housing and community investments. These investments have led to the building and renovation of over 93,000 affordable rental units, positively impacting hundreds of thousands of low-income individuals, families, and seniors. The company’s efforts to address housing insecurity are a core part of Destination: Health, a series of CVS Health business programs dedicated to helping people improve their health outside of a clinical setting. CVS Health is continuing to make significant investments in affordable housing across the country.

With a continued focus on addressing housing insecurity in underserved and at-risk populations, CVS Health is looking forward to further cultivating invaluable relationships with community organizations and combining its strategic investments in housing with services to address the specific needs of individuals and communities across the country.

To learn more about the impact of our investments, read our press release and the local coverage below highlighting the ways we’re making a positive impact in communities nationwide.

Officials cut the ribbon on a mixed-income community in Georgia.
Our recent investments have included Gateway Pointe, a mixed-income community in Georgia that celebrated its ribbon-cutting (above) in the fall of 2019.
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Rewriting Their Stories: Collaborative Treatment for Trafficking Victims

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Utilizing the resources of our combined companies, our commitment to improving health community by community includes everything from free neighborhood health clinics to the difficult, personal issues of treating addiction.

In Arizona, it involves going into communities dealing with the growing epidemic of human trafficking through a public-private effort that involves Mercy Care, a Medicaid managed care organization managed by Aetna, as well as the Phoenix Police Department and other social services programs.

In the video above, learn how a holistic, first-of-its-kind treatment program, the Maricopa County Child Sex Trafficking Collaborative, is working with multiple health care partners to get victims off the street and on a path to better health.

As Skye Steel, CEO of Street Light USA says in the video: “Children who have been trafficked can recover. It does take a lot of time, a lot of people, a lot of energy, a lot of love…but their story can be rewritten.”

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve care across the nation, visit our News & Insights page and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our Leaders in Care newsletter.

A photo of a treatment program participant, looking at the sky.
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Aetna Better Health of Florida Supports Food Pantry Conference

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For millions of Americans, hunger is a constant reminder of food insecurity and the challenges they face from it on a daily basis. To win the war on hunger, food banks and their partners understand that one way to solve it is to ease the stigma associated with food assistance programs.

To fight back against this stigma, Aetna Better Health® of Florida (ABHFL), a Medicaid Managed Care Plan, in partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, recently sponsored their annual Partnership Networking Conference in the city of Orlando with a $10,000 donation. The conference brought together over 300 partner agencies and local organizations whose main mission is to distribute healthy foods to needy families in Central Florida. These agencies distribute food at the neighborhood level and partnering with them is a great way to meet Medicaid members where they are. ABHFL was the first Medicaid health plan ever invited to attend this annual conference.

During the conference, there were several speakers addressing the issue of food insecurity and community outreach, including RJ Briscione, senior director, Aetna Medicaid Business Development. RJ discussed Aetna’s work on social determinants of health and food insecurity at the local level, including how the health plan serves Medicaid members in Central Florida.

According to RJ, “With the help of dedicated partners like Second Harvest, Aetna Better Health aims to raise awareness and understanding of the complex issues related to food insecurity, and to develop effective strategies to combat hunger and the health effects that come with it.”

“The conference also provided the health plan a unique opportunity to network with food pantry providers and distribute ABHFL promotional items,” said Carl Lee, ABHFL manager of Community Development and Outreach. “We were able to hand out ABHFL branded posters for attendees to display at their agency locations. Participants praised our presence at the conference and complemented us for being good stewards to the community.”

About Aetna Better Health of Florida

Aetna Better Health of Florida uses an integrated physical and behavioral health approach to the administration of benefits for the Medicaid Managed Care, Florida Healthy Kids, and Managed Long Term Services and Supports populations. The health plan works with members and their families, caregivers, providers, advocates, peer and family organizations and community groups to help them achieve better health outcomes.

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