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UPMC Health Plan Announces New Social Impact Initiative to Help Address the Social Determinants of Health

Efforts will focus on social issues that directly impact health outcomes, including affordable housing, employment, and human services for underserved populations

Pittsburgh, Dec. 19, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For more than a decade, UPMC Health Plan has been at the forefront of the social determinants of health (SDOH) movement to help reduce health inequities in underserved communities. 

UPMC Social Impact, a new initiative to coordinate and expand innovation in addressing the social determinants of health, will be housed within the UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care, which translates the work of UPMC’s unique payer-provider laboratory into evidence-based practice and policy change for improving health care quality and efficiency. 

With the launch of the UPMC Social Impact initiative, these efforts will expand considerably to focus on key areas that directly impact at-risk individuals and their overall health, especially related to the issues of affordable housing, employment, and human service integration.

“The goal of UPMC Social Impact is to help meet the health, socioeconomic, and environmental needs of UPMC Health Plan members and the communities we serve,” said John Lovelace, president of government programs at UPMC Health Plan. “The initiative will create new social responsibility programs and expand upon our existing programs to positively impact the health and wellbeing of our members, employees, and the neighborhoods where we live and work.”

UPMC Social Impact will consolidate current efforts related to the social determinants of health, as well as spearhead new initiatives, including investing in housing for members who are experiencing homelessness; participating in collaborations to expand affordable housing; developing models for supported employment; creating programs to assist underserved members; and integrating human services to simplify health care for vulnerable populations.

Each initiative is designed to help improve the lives of individuals, create healthier communities, and provide measurable impact across Pa., especially for low-income residents.

Examples of the social determinants of health initiatives that UPMC Social Impact will expand upon include:

  • Nutritional needs and food insecurity
  • Affordable housing expansion, including permanent supportive housing
  • Employment opportunities for Medicaid members and individuals with disabilities
  • Transportation access
  • Improving coordination of health care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Accessible and quality care for LGBTQIA individuals
  • Coordinated health care and human services across state, county, and local programs
  • Early childhood initiatives, including childcare and well-child care
  • Supports to prevent social isolation, especially for individuals with dementia

In addition to leading UPMC Health Plan’s efforts to address the social determinants of health, UPMC Social Impact will also develop strategic plans for programming related to corporate social responsibility, including future business and investment opportunities within these areas.

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About the UPMC Insurance Services Division

The UPMC Insurance Services Division is owned by UPMC, a world-renowned health care provider and insurer based in Pittsburgh, Pa. The UPMC Insurance Services Division – which includes UPMC Health Plan, WorkPartners, UPMC for Life, UPMC for You, UPMC for Kids, and Community Care Behavioral Health — offers a full range of group health insurance, Medicare, Special Needs, CHIP, Medical Assistance, behavioral health, employee assistance and workers’ compensation products and services to 3.6 million members. For more information, visit www.upmchealthplan.com.

Ned Schano
UPMC Health Plan
412-454-0131
schanon@upmc.edu