Pictured (left to right) are Melissa Gualtieri, COAAA director of business development; Katie White, COAAA administrator;Ami Cole, Molina Healthcare of Ohio plan president; and Nathan Reiter, Molina Healthcare of Ohio director of health equity & cultural competency.

Courtesy | COAAA

The MolinaCares Accord (“MolinaCares”), in conjunction with Molina Healthcare of Ohio (“Molina”), has given a $1.5 million grant to the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging (“COAAA”) to aid in the launch of the organization’s new Social Determinants of Health (“SDOH”) Accelerator Program. This initiative aims to create programs and interventions necessary to accelerate health equity.

With assistance from MolinaCares funding, to be disbursed over three years, COAAA will assess and address the social care needs of older adults and people with disabilities. The funds will help support staffing including registered nurses, social workers, and community health professionals.

Foundational to the new program is the development and testing of a screening process as well as the design and implementation of new interventions to meet social care needs such as housing stability, food security, and transportation access – all of which can be determinants of health.

“MolinaCares is proud to fund the SDOH Accelerator Program designed to significantly improve the health and well-being of at-risk populations throughout central Ohio,” said Ami Cole, plan president for Molina Healthcare of Ohio. “This initiative will provide greater access to high-quality care and help remove barriers that currently prevent many Ohioans from living healthier and more fulfilling lives.”

The SDOH Accelerator Program will engage individuals receiving care and case management through COAAA with an emphasis on the diabetic population. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 40% of the adult diabetic population is 65 years old or older; approximately 21% of those adults have a known diagnosis of diabetes, while approximately 16% don’t know they have diabetes. A report on the outcomes, lessons learned, and replicable models will be produced for scaling across a network of area agencies focused on aging and other home and community-based service providers.

“COAAA has a very experienced, multi-disciplinary team completing comprehensive social determinants of health screenings, providing education, and linking with referrals,” said Melissa Gualtieri, COAAA director of business development. Gualtieri is leading the SDOH Accelerator Program in Delaware, Franklin, Madison, Pickaway, and Union counties.

“At COAAA, we are uniquely positioned to harness the talent and ideas of our staff, as well as our consumers, to implement a program that is rooted in meeting community needs,” said Katie White, COAAA administrator. “We feel extremely fortunate to partner with Molina. With exceptional, inclusive care as our foundation, we will pave the way for the future of meeting health equity through social care.”

This grant builds upon current efforts to address SDOH in Ohio. Molina has donated more than $100,000 to area organizations focused on food insecurity, housing needs, transportation, and mobile health units for preventive and primary care.

Submitted by the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging (COAAA).