The UCare Foundation on Tuesday announced that it has provided more than $2 million in grants to various nonprofits, organizations, and county services across Minnesota.
The nonprofit health plan provider said the grants are aimed at addressing health disparities, mitigating social risk factors, and improving health care access to underserved populations. UCare gives out grants annually, as funding allows.
The largest grant recipient was North Memorial Health’s Community Paramedic house call services, which received $200,000, said UCare spokeswoman Wendy Wicks. The program, which UCare has been funding for several years now, serves people who may be experiencing barriers to receiving traditional care.
“We just want to be really responsive to the needs of our community,” she said.
The foundation awarded the grants after reviewing the health landscape in Minnesota and finding the places with the biggest disparities, Wicks said.
“It’s not necessarily a formal survey. It’s a conversation,” she said
UCare’s funding goes first to covering the health care of its members. Grants were then awarded to organizations that serve those members.
Allina Health received $100,000 for a project aimed at helping patients with suicidal thoughts. A grant from UCare will also help Open Cities Health Center, a nonprofit community health center in St. Paul, keep its doors open.
In the health plan industry, there’s ongoing talk of addressing social determinants of health, also known as “social risk factors,” Wicks said. UCare is looking at factors impacting long-term health outcomes, such as housing, well-being, and food access.
To address the issue of hunger, for instance, UCare allocated $90,000 the Wilder Foundation for the “Twin Cities Mobile Market,” which helps make groceries accessible in Twin Cities food deserts.