Healthcare providers who treat patients from all walks of life sometimes come to realize their patients or their patients’ family require additional support to sustain a healthy lifestyle – for instance, support with housing, food, transportation, employment, or utilities. Likewise, social service organizations who offer these kind of supports sometimes see a need for persons they are helping to receive healthcare. To help better connect those in need with the support they need, today Optima Health, Unite Us, and United Way of South Hampton Roads announce a technology partnership within a coordinated care network to address social determinants of health.
Unite Us offers technology to connect Optima Health Medicaid members to the social services of United Way in one accountable, private, and secure system. Local Care Coordinators on staff at Optima Health manage referrals to or from clinical providers and United Way-affiliated housing, employment, and education providers. The technology allows a Care Coordinator—with patient permission—to send and receive referrals, matching the individual to the provider for whom they qualify; ensure they receive the services to which they are referred; share updates so providers can collaborate over shared patients’ progress; and track outcomes to measure the impact of the coordinated care network.
Traci Massie, Director of Government Programs at Optima Health, said, “Optima Health’s goal is to connect our Medicaid members to social services in the community to address their social determinants of health, as well as the clinical care we cover. If our members don’t have secure shelter, food, heat, and other essential needs met, the benefit of providing healthcare is limited. Until now, many healthcare providers didn’t have a good option beyond writing down a referral and hoping for the best. This next step in our coordinated care model marks an important change.”
Unite Us’ Co-Founder and President, Taylor Justice, explained, “This partnership is about outcomes. We’re building infrastructure to improve health, not just healthcare. Every time we help health providers and social service providers connect, we make those communities a bit stronger. This network will join more than 50 communities in over 25 states as part of a national initiative to address the social determinants of health. Unite Us goes beyond just increasing efficiencies in the referral system. Each health, human, and social service organization will gain insight into the total client journey for more context than a standard referral and will use the collected data for informed decision-making and to ensure needs are resolved.”
Carol McCormack, president and CEO of United Way of South Hampton Roads, added, “Social service providers are in the relationships business. Our strength is acting as conveners, bringing multiple partners together to create solutions that serve the community’s greater good. However, bringing those solutions to scale requires technology, which is why we are so excited to work with Unite Us. This technology provides an efficient and seamless way to make and track referrals to better coordinate efforts with our partners, like Optima Health. We are very excited about what the Unite Us technology will mean for our community, and what this coordinated effort with Optima Health will mean for our neighbors in need.”
Throughout, the process is compliant with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards, Personally Identifiable Information (PII) standards, other standards and rules for security and data storage, and it restricts access to viewing protected information such as outcomes for mental health or substance use visits. Clients must provide informed consent to have their information shared.
About Unite Us
Unite Us is an outcome-focused technology company that builds coordinated care networks connecting health and social service providers. The company helps systems and communities efficiently deliver care and services by allowing providers to collaborate around shared patients and clients, seamlessly integrating the social determinants of health into patient care. Providers across the service continuum can receive and send electronic referrals and track every patient’s total health journey while reporting on all tangible outcomes across a full range of services in a centralized, cohesive, and collaborative ecosystem. This social infrastructure helps communities move beyond fragmented legacy resource directories and transform their ability to measure impact, improve health, and track outcomes at scale. To learn more about Unite Us, visit www.UniteUs.com.
About Optima Health
Optima Health, based in Virginia, provides health insurance coverage to more than 510,000 members. With more than 30 years of experience, Optima Health offers a suite of commercial products including consumer-directed, employee-owned and employer-sponsored plans, individual health plans, employee assistance programs and plans serving Medicare and Medicaid enrollees. Its provider network features 26,000 providers including specialists, primary care physicians and hospitals across Virginia. Optima Health also offers programs to support members with chronic illnesses, customized wellness programs and integrated clinical and behavioral health services, as well as pharmacy management—all to help members improve their health every day. The company’s goals are to provide better health, be easy to use and offer services that are a great value. Optima Health is a service of Sentara Healthcare. To learn more about Optima Health, visit www.optimahealth.com.
About United Way of South Hampton Roads
For more than 90 years, United Way of South Hampton Roads has led the way to powerful, local community impact. As the needs of individuals and families in our community grow more complex, they are adapting their model to better serve them. More than a “funds raiser,” they are bringing together people and resources to solve problems too big for any of us to solve alone. Through the help of generous volunteers, donors and community partners, they are changing the odds for children, veterans and families across Hampton Roads. To learn more, visit unitedwaywshr.org.