|WellCare Launches Nationwide Community Assistance Line to Connect People to Needed Social Services|
TAMPA, Fla. (March 5, 2015) — WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), a leading provider of managed care services for government-sponsored health care programs, announced today that it launched a nationwide, toll-free Community Assistance Line (CAL) to help connect people to social services including financial, food, education and utility assistance, transportation, disability and homeless services, support groups and child care. WellCare’s CAL is open to the public and is a referral service that matches needs with more than 1.2 million programs and services.
The CAL is staffed by 32 WellCare community liaisons who act as peer support specialists. Two members of the team are deaf or hearing impaired and use video relay and video chat to assist callers who are also deaf or hearing impaired. All liaisons are trained to evaluate a person’s needs, to match those needs with relevant community-based programs and services, and to provide the requestor with contact information for the programs and services. The community liaisons are also responsible for populating the data base to continuously increase the number of programs and services that are available.
If the data base does not contain the programs and services needed, the community liaison will conduct research and/or work with local, community-based WellCare staff to try and fill the gap. Once the appropriate programs and services are identified, the community liaison will contact the person in need to connect them.
“We know that people cannot prioritize their health when their basic need for food, shelter, clothing and safety is not being properly met,” said Pamme Taylor, WellCare’s vice president for advocacy and community-based programs. “By simply helping people to address these needs, WellCare expects three positive outcomes: people will lead better, healthier lives; there will be greater support for the social safety net, and the overall costs of health care will be reduced.”
“St. Elizabeth Physicians is participating in this program in Kentucky because it provides a service we can offer to our patients that gets at the heart of many of the issues that are negatively impacting their overall health,” said Denise Page, director of quality and care management at St. Elizabeth Physicians. “More than seven offices and 100 staffers, including nurses and front desk personnel, have been trained to refer patients to the Community Assistance Line, and we expect another 21 offices with more than 300 people to be trained in the next six weeks.”
“Because my teenage daughter and I didn’t have enough money to stretch our food budget for the entire month, we were going hungry for days,” said Sarah Gonzales, whose daughter is a WellCare member and lives outside of Atlanta, Ga. “It was painful for me to know that sometimes her only meal would come from school.” Gonzales added, “When I called WellCare to get transportation assistance for a doctor’s appointment, I was told about the Community Assistance Line. I was then transferred to a Spanish speaking person who helped me to get food stamps. I can now focus on other areas of our lives like taking care of her, making my doctor’s appointments and enjoying life.”
WellCare’s CAL currently operates Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. To contact the line for assistance call 866-775-2192 (main line) or 855-628-7552 (video relay).
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