Three-year, $3 million partnership will address urgent primary and behavioral health needs in underserved communities throughout Phoenix metro area
The United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), has committed $3 million to Valle del Sol Community Health to help improve school-age children’s access to integrated health care in underserved communities throughout the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
According to America’s Health Rankings’ latest Health of Women and Children Data 2020 Update, nearly 60% of Arizona’s children do not have a primary care provider and access to behavioral health care for many communities is limited.
“This grant will help Arizona kids and families access consistent care that is critical to their development and well-being,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “I’m grateful to the United Health Foundation for its continued support for families and its efforts to address the health care needs of underserved communities.”
With support from the United Health Foundation, Valle del Sol will create mobile medical teams to provide ongoing primary care, psychiatry and behavioral health services to middle- and high-school-aged children in school settings when appropriate, or via telehealth. The program, which will officially launch in July, is expected to serve nearly 11,000 children over three years.
“In partnership with Valle del Sol Community Health, we will reach thousands of young people in their communities with the coordinated primary and behavioral health care they need to live happier, healthier lives,” said Dr. Wyatt Decker, CEO of OptumHealth, a UnitedHealth Group company. “UnitedHealth Group is committed to improving and expanding access to health care for families in Arizona and we are honored to support this important effort.”
Valle del Sol will coordinate with school systems and foster group homes to identify children who may need support to address behavioral health, psychiatric and primary care needs. The grant will support the purchase of three mobile medical units and fund three mobile care teams comprised of a primary care provider, adolescent behavioral health specialist, medical assistant and community health worker. The mobile medical teams will travel throughout underserved communities in the Phoenix metropolitan area to provide care coordination and connect families to additional social services.
“This is a game-changer. We are grateful to the United Health Foundation for its support to help us expand our reach to so many more children and families in the Phoenix area,” said Carmen Heredia, CEO of Valle del Sol Community Health. “Better meeting children’s critical health care needs means better school attendance, hopefully a reduction in mental health symptoms, and a better start toward a healthy life.”
Valle del Sol is a federally qualified health center and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic that has been providing community-based behavioral prevention, treatment, primary medical care and community leadership development services to underserved communities in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area since 1970.
In addition to Valle del Sol, the United Health Foundation, UnitedHealthcare and UnitedHealth Group have made significant philanthropic and community investments in recent years, including a now completed three-year, $1 million partnership with Circle the City that expanded health care and respite services for individuals experiencing homelessness. UnitedHealth Group provides 1.7 million people in Arizona with health care coverage, and employs more than 7,000 people throughout the state.
About the United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, the United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. The United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, the United Health Foundation has committed more than $500 million to programs and communities around the world. To learn more, visit https://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/what-we-do/building-healthier-communities/our-foundations.html.
Lisa Contreras, UnitedHealthcare