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Sunshine Health Continues to Support Floridians in Need During the Pandemic

Date: 12/15/20

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

As Floridians continue to struggle with COVID-19, Sunshine Health and its parent company, Centene Corporation, remain strong in our commitment to invest in local partnerships to strengthen communities across Florida.

This includes a wide range of supports – from a $15 million contribution to provide scholarships for students to drive-through community relief to providing people in need with basic essentials.

Community Assistance

Education and Healthcare

The pandemic has highlighted the need for access to high-quality healthcare. With so much disruption to schools, it also highlighted the need for access to high-quality education and support to families using virtual schooling.

  • WellCare of Florida gave $15 million to Step Up for Students in November. This is an investment in the future of 2,235 schoolchildren through the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The income-based scholarship program provides lower-income students in Florida the opportunity to attend private or out-of-district schools that best meet their learning needs. It helps students like Tommy Phan, a graduate of Tampa’s Jesuit High School, who is now in the pre-med track at the University of Notre Dame. Read more about this donation on the Step Up for Students blog.
  • Sunshine Health is taking part in a COVID-19 Health Disparity Screening Initiative as part of a Centene partnership with local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). The initiative is designed to bring antibody testing to underserved communities because research shows that COVID-19 disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities. In coordination with Osceola Community Health Services, this free testing is taking place in Joliet Nov. 18 through December — until 1,000 tests are complete. Not only will it help the community get tested, it will help us better understand health disparities and how to proactively alleviate them.
  • Ambetter from Sunshine Health teamed up with the Host Committee for the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship (2021 CFPNCG Host Committee) and Farm Share, Inc. for:
    • A Nov. 14 drive-through event to distribute free groceries, sanitation supplies, games, kids’ crafts and more at Orange Bowl Field in Fort Lauderdale, in cooperation with the city.
    • An Oct. 31 drive-through event to distribute Halloween candy, food, sanitation items, kids’ crafts and more at Wells Recreation Center.
  • WellCare donated 11,000 face masks to schools, churches, clinics and other community partners across the state, including in Brevard, Collier, Hernando, Hillsborough, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and St. Johns counties.
  • A $5,000 contribution to AdventHealth Carrollwood for construction of the “Healing Garden” on the grounds of the hospital.
  • Provided $8,000 to the American Cancer Society for research and awareness including virtual versions of the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks in Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Broward County.

Children and youths:

  • Provided $1,500 to support Voices for Children of Broward County for case management, age-appropriate referrals and other services on behalf of abused and neglected children.
  • Reached out to more than 4,500 providers to let them know about the HHS COVID Relief Fund.
  • Provided a $2,500 sponsorship for fundraising and support of the Dreams and Success Transitional Living Program in St. Petersburg, which offers educational tools and experiences to young adults transitioning out of care housing services with.
  • Provided a $10,000 contribution to the Manatee Education Foundation, which offers multiple student scholarships.
  • In the aftermath of Hurricane Sally, WellCare provided 5,000 school supply items to three schools and the Escambia County PTA.
  • Children’s Medical Services, operated by WellCare on behalf of the Florida Department of Health, provided 5,000 bags and school supplies for those in need.

Public Awareness:

  • Provided $25,000 to the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics as part of a statewide campaign to promote immunizations and well child visits during this time when on-time vaccinations have fallen 50% and well child visits have fallen significantly.
    • We are out in the community proactively communicating the importance of getting children in for vaccinations and well checks.
    • Chief Medical Officer Katherine Friedebach, MD, was featured in a 30-minute radio show on WMBM AM 1490 on childhood immunizations and well checks. The South Florida station says the drive-time show reaches 50,000 listeners, many in minority and financially challenged neighborhoods, plus thousands nationally online
    • Dr. Friedebach also spoke on the same topic to about 100 attendees at the Florida Medical Association’s Insurance Summit on Nov. 13.
    • Medical Director Thidaporn Tanpattana, DO, did a Facebook Live with Healthy Miami Gardens talking about the importance of not letting childhood well checks and vaccinations slip during the pandemic. So far, nearly 100 people have viewed the taping.
    • Sunshine Health launched a social media campaign targeting areas of Florida with the lowest vaccination rates, educating parents on their importance. The campaign reached nearly 200,000 people and motivated more than 3,200 people to click to “learn more.”
    • Our Field Marketing Team held a virtual workshop with more than 100 representatives of our community partners to teach them how to use the Sunshine Health Community Resource Database, so they can reach more residents in need, and provided an overview of Ambetter and the Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Period.
    • Provided $2,500 to the Selfless Love Foundation in Palm Beach for a Nov. 21 celebration of National Adoption Day.
    • Provided $5,000 for a National Alliance on Mental Illness Florida virtual speaker series, which is running from September 2020 through February 2021,  with such topics as “Improving Care for the Serious Mental Illness Population” and “The Impact of COVID-19 in Florida: Best Practices of Providers.”

Members and Providers

Because of the decrease in vaccinations, Sunshine Health is incentivizing vaccinations, which provide a long-term benefit to community health.

Vaccination incentives

  • Healthcare providers are being given incentives for each child in their care who had not yet received all Childhood Immunization (Combo 3) vaccines by their second birthday between Jan. 1 and May 31, 2020, and completes the series by Dec. 31, 2020. This incentive is specifically designed to address the number of patients and families who may be avoiding needed medical care during the pandemic.
  • Sunshine Health members can earn $50 on their My Health Pays™ rewards program card upon completing six infant well checks with a primary care doctor. They also can earn $10 for annual child well care visits for their children who are 2-20 years old. This not only encourages proper care for children and youths, put also gives members a few extra dollars that can be used to pay for utilities, transportation, childcare services, rent, shop at Walmart and more.