Centene To Invest In New Technology, Supplies To Improve Access To Quality Healthcare For Incarcerated Population
Centene continues its commitment to support the most vulnerable populations affected by COVID-19
ST. LOUIS, May 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Centene (NYSE: CNC) today announced a series of investments and commitments aimed at supporting the incarcerated population and the staff that serve them. The company announced new investments in technology that will improve access to care, reinforced its commitment to providing key medical supplies to the incarcerated population during the pandemic, and announced an expansion of its social determinants of health efforts to support those in the prison system.
"It is our mission to protect and advocate for the most vulnerable populations, and incarcerated individuals have some of the greatest healthcare needs," said Michael Neidorff, Chairman, President and CEO of Centene. "Today we are doubling down on our commitment to this population and making investments that will improve the system's ability to serve them over the long-term."
Improving access to care through technology
Today, the company has announced that it is doubling its investment in telehealth technology solutions in prisons through Centurion, a Centene subsidiary and a leading provider of medical and mental health services to state prison systems, to expand primary and specialty care encounters with inmates and medical professionals. The additional investment will expand the company's primary and medical capabilities by 200% and provide an additional 3,000 mental health visits on a monthly basis.
"Centurion has a track record of improving outcomes upon entering new markets. Our ability to leverage Centene's diabetes management program is recognized even more during this health crisis. Infusing technology into prison systems can significantly improve access to quality care," said Centurion Chief of Clinical Operations, Johnny Wu, MD, FACP, FACCP, CCHP-A, who will be helping drive the implementation of these changes. "We continue to address patients' acute needs during the pandemic, while investing in technology to protect their well-being in the long-term."
This new investment will expand the capacity of these services and help more incarcerated individuals get immediate access to remote care. Centurion's telehealth services currently provide approximately 10,000 mental health and 2,500 primary medical and specialty care appointments monthly.
Expanding PPE Supplies in Prisons to Combat COVID-19
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Centurion has ensured that all of its partner agencies and state departments of correction have had access to the critical medical supplies they need to serve the incarcerated population. Today, the company is reinforcing its commitment to provide personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and COVID-19 tests.
"Access to critical medical supplies should not be an obstacle to care for incarcerated individuals," said, Steven H. Wheeler, CEO of Centurion. "We will continue to source, distribute and supply necessary medical equipment to prison systems in need. We are proud of the partnerships with our national lab companies and local departments of health, and no incarcerated individual under our medical care that meets criteria has waited for or been denied a COVID-19 test. During this challenging time, we must come together to protect incarcerated individuals and the staff that serve them."
All of Centurion's partner agencies and the state departments of correction that Centurion works with have eliminated co-pays for COVID-19 related evaluation, testing and treatment, which removes a deterrent for some individuals to seek care.
Enhancing Long-Term Outcomes for Incarcerated Individuals
Beyond the pandemic, Centene is also expanding its partnerships with the Concordance Academy and other charitable agencies whose mission is to reduce recidivism, with new programs focused on addressing the broader social determinants that are critical to individuals' outlook both during and following their time in prison.
"There are many non-medical factors that contribute to health, social and economic outcomes of individuals who have been incarcerated," said Centurion Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John May. Dr. May is an international advocate for incarcerated populations, co-founder of the nonprofit Health through Walls, and advisor to the Justice and Corrections Service of UN Peace Operations regarding COVID-19 operations. "The pandemic has highlighted the need for accelerated innovation to better serve incarcerated populations. If we are to make meaningful progress on reducing incarceration and recidivism rates in this country, we must be willing to take a more holistic and aggressive approach to addressing the broader social determinants of health of this population."
Today the company is committing to pilot programs at facilities in three states with tablets that will connect incarcerated individuals to Centurion health professionals on demand and educate themselves on topics like nutrition, wellness and preventive care. The program will include video content that focuses on navigating the healthcare system, resilience, and avoiding pitfalls that contribute to substance abuse. The educational content will help an individual's understanding and ownership of their own wellness and more effectively prepare them for life after release.
The intent of the programs is to develop a more personal and holistic way to care for incarcerated individuals, which addresses the population's specific needs regarding medical care, mental well-being and education. This framework will work to ensure that incarcerated populations are protected during their time in prison and prepared to succeed when they re-enter society.
About Centene Corporation
Centene Corporation, a Fortune 100 company, is a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise that is committed to helping people live healthier lives. The company takes a local approach – with local brands and local teams - to provide fully integrated, high-quality, and cost-effective services to government-sponsored and commercial healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. Centene offers affordable and high-quality products to nearly 1 in 15 individuals across the nation, including Medicaid and Medicare members (including Medicare Prescription Drug Plans) as well as individuals and families served by the Health Insurance Marketplace, the TRICARE program, and individuals in correctional facilities. The Company also serves several international markets, and contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide a variety of specialty services focused on treating the whole person. Centene focuses on long-term growth and the development of its people, systems and capabilities so that it can better serve its members, providers, local communities, and government partners.
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