Safety Net Health Plans Connect Employment, Better Health
Safety Net Health Plans go beyond the traditional boundaries of the health care system to improve their members’ well-being. As not-for-profit, community-based health plans, they have commitments to their communities and support the Medicaid program through strong and lean times. Many deliver innovative programs that improve their members’ health outcomes, which challenge previous assumptions about what is and isn’t health care at the same time.
Previous videos highlighted two Safety Net Health Plans that provide housing to their members with highest need. Here, we profile Amida Care, a Safety Net Health Plan based in New York City focused on serving HIV-positive Medicaid beneficiaries, which takes a novel approach to strengthening the physical and behavioral health status of its members — by creating job opportunities.
Amida Care offers members opportunities to gain part-time employment in a number of roles: Peer specialists, who provide coaching services; Community Health Outreach Workers, who canvass the community to help the plan re-engage with members who have dropped out of care, full-time health navigators, who help enrollees to get the most from their health plan benefits, and members of the Member Advisory Council, who advise Amida Care management on ways to improve service delivery and satisfaction among its health care membership.
The video below features a dialogue between Lee Garr, Director of Amida Care’s Outreach Programs, and Amida Care President and CEO Doug Wirth.
“For us, it’s important for people to take an interest in their care because you see an interest in their whole being… their self-esteem is boosted and it gives them a voice. And that’s really important,” notes Garr.
While it’s not something one generally talks about at the doctor’s office, a stable source of income can have a powerful and positive effect on people’s health outcomes. Amida Care realizes this — and to date has hired, trained and employed more than 250 of its enrollees to serve in a variety of part-time community support roles.
While most such jobs are limited in hours and payment so that the initiative does not jeopardize the individual’s Medicaid eligibility, their experience gained through Amida Care serves as a building block to seeking and obtaining full-time employment and private health coverage.
Employment is just one way that Safety Net Health Plans are taking proactive steps to address social factors that influence health outcomes. For more information, see a previous set of videos on housing, or take a moment to read a fact sheet that details more than a dozen innovative approaches devised by ACAP-member plans.