United Way of Greater Cleveland Partners with Leading Hospitals and Healthcare Insurers to Bring Health Innovation to Clevelanders

Media contact:

Katie Connell, United Way of Greater Cleveland: 404.895.5513 and kconnell@unitedwaycleveland.org

Collaborative investment among 11 partners aims to enhance the quality of life and well-being for qualifying older adults through medically tailored, home-delivered meals

The six-month pilot program with Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging offers nutritious meals, education and follow-up to improve health outcomes for participants while reducing medical costs

CLEVELAND (Sept. 2, 2021) — United Way of Greater Cleveland, The Rose Centers for Aging Well and 11 hospital and health insurance partners today announced the launch of the Collaborative Investments + Health program, an innovative and sustainable investment strategy that brings together hospital networks, Medicaid managed care providers, and other stakeholders to collaborate on and lead programs designed to improve the lives of Clevelanders.

In partnership with The Rose Centers for Aging Well, a subsidiary of the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, the first six-month pilot will support Nutrition Solution, an expanded home-delivered meal service that combines medically tailored meals (MTMs), nutrition education, and weekly wellness calls.

Investors in the program include Buckeye Health Plan (Centene), CareSource, Cleveland Clinic, Humana, The MetroHealth System, Molina Healthcare Ohio, Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, Sisters of Charity Foundation, Sisters of Charity Health System, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Ohio and Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging.

"Through this collaborative investment strategy, United Way is excited to bring together traditional competitors to help vulnerable populations. In this case, we're partnering to help adults aged 50 and over manage their lifestyle factors beyond the scope of traditional health care to create a higher quality of life while reducing medical costs," said Augie Napoli, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland. "We're all responsible for creating a healthy community, and 80% of the things that keep a person healthy happen outside the health care system."

This first Collaborative Investments + Health program allows Nutrition Solution to deliver MTMs to homes and provide volunteer outreach to reduce social isolation and improve the health of approximately 300 older adults suffering from chronic health conditions who lack access to healthy food options. Local investor hospitals and insurers identify high-risk individuals to enroll in the voluntary Nutrition Solution program at no cost to them.

"Food insecurity is significantly related to poverty and social isolation, which can result in negative health outcomes following hospitalization," said Orion Bell, president and CEO of Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging. "Nutrition Solution is designed to address this challenge, and we are so grateful that United Way's Collaborative Investments + Health program will help us work toward our goal of bringing the program to all those vulnerable Clevelanders who need it."

This year, the project's initial round of investment raised nearly $800,000 to provide the home delivered MTMs for qualifying individuals who are food insecure and socially isolated at home, with all funds raised directly supporting the delivery of these services. Home-delivered MTMs have previously demonstrated significant overall reductions in health spending through improvement in meal recipient health.

The organizations piloting the program identify individuals who qualify to participate and meet the eligibility criteria, including having diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease or hypertension, social isolation, and food insecurity. The program will be evaluated once results are compiled in early 2022, with the goal of expanding the program more broadly.

Often referred to as the
Collaborative Approach to Public Goods Investment (CAPGI) model developed by Len Nichols, Ph.D. and Lauren Taylor, Ph.D., investors who engage in referrals share results for a project-wide evaluation, helping inform and advance knowledge of effective interventions. Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation supports the evaluation.

"The exciting thing about CAPGI in Cleveland is how United Way led local stakeholders already committed to improving health to collaborate rather than compete so they could accomplish more than any one organization could alone," said Nichols.

On Sept. 24, the Urban Institute, United Way of Greater Cleveland and CAPGI model co-creators Nichols and Taylor will host a webinar discussing CAPGI work underway in Cleveland. Registration is free and open to all by visiting https://capgi.urban.org/index.php/register-for-the-cleveland-united-way-capgi-webinar/.

Collaborative Investments + Health is part of United Way of Greater Cleveland's Impact Institute. The Impact Institute is a think tank with an action plan focused on upending the root causes of poverty, including lack of access to quality housing and health care, racism, and childhood abuse, by creating innovative, long-term solutions to prevent the cycle of poverty from continuing for generations.

See the expanded news release with quotes from partner organizations.