How whole-person health programs transform health care

March 21st, 2023 | 6 min read

Care Source Care Manager with Member looking at at papers on a table and talking

Health care should be more than treating physical illnesses. It’s about caring for the whole health of adults, children and the communities where they live.

Access to employment and educational opportunities, healthy and affordable foods, career counseling and job advice, a safe living environment and reliable transportation play important roles in overall health for families. By reaching out into our communities to directly address health disparities, CareSource advocates for a better world unimpeded by social, economic and environmental disadvantages.

CareSource has a more than 30-year history of going beyond traditional health care to help ensure members are equipped with the resources they need to be healthy and pursue their higher aspirations. Furthermore, with our nonprofit mission, we are not beholden to shareholders and can freely reinvest in our communities.

We believe it is our collective responsibility to address our communities’ needs empathetically – particularly when it comes to serving our children. To that end, we embrace the complex issues that often confound other insurers.

We do this with a myriad of innovative approaches, but namely through our industry-leading CareSource Life Services® programs and the symbiotic, sustainable local collaborations we build in our communities.

Workforce development

The centerpiece of CareSource Life Services® is an ambitious outreach program called CareSource JobConnect™. Through CareSource JobConnect™, members are assigned life coaches who work with them on issues related to employment, education and other social determinants of health barriers. Our coaches remain engaged for up to 24 months with the goal of fostering retention and advancement. Meanwhile, our program’s infrastructure connects members to other community resources, such as educational programs, food and nutrition, housing and transportation.

This program is critically important to adolescents and young adults who are transitioning into adulthood, and who have immediate access to these resources during their preparation for and their journey towards self-sufficiency.

Similar to our adult members, these young adults are eligible to receive one-on-one coaching sessions and help with job readiness and placement opportunities. Life coaches help identify job opportunities, assist with resume building and the interview process, and provide support to individuals once they begin a new role. In order to further eliminate barriers to workforce entry, we also support members and parents or guardians of members in accessing education and training opportunities.

Navigating the transition to adulthood is difficult for most parents. When a child is medically complex, the transition can prove to be even more exacerbating to caregivers.

Support for caregivers

While we are dedicated to addressing the intricacies of health care needs of children and members, CareSource also understands how caring for a loved one – particularly a child – can lead to increased stress, social isolation, and physical health issues for a caregiver.

We connect caregivers to community resources and life coaches via a multipronged approach to caregiving support. It includes respite care and funding for caregiver expenses such as personal services or meal delivery, as well as innovative digital mental health resources and e-learning platforms that provide access to training in caregiving skills, emergency response, and trauma informed care. Most importantly, we offer uniquely personalized programs to our members. In fact, our caregiver specialists can pinpoint the root cause of an individual caregiver’s stressors, create a personalized plan of care to address their specific burnout risks, and provide tools and resources for that individual’s caregiving journey.

That journey can include access to further behavioral well-being tools as well.

Behavioral health

CareSource supports members and their children who suffer from mental health conditions in the same manner we support their physical health care needs. This is one step forward in working to combat the mental health crisis in our country. CareSource offers behavioral health as part of our benefits, which provides members access to counseling or addiction services. We also provide care managers, who can help members locate the resources they need to be healthy and to support a safe home environment for children especially.

In order to create a safe home environment, our members must first be able to afford the home they’re living in.

Affordable housing

With more than 300,000 new residents moving to Florida this year alone, home prices have skyrocketed and housing accessibility for low-income families has diminished.

When housing is expensive, individuals oftentimes lack funds for necessities such as healthy food and health care. No one should have to choose between having a safe place to live and their health. That’s why CareSource is working with organizations across the state committed to providing affordable housing. Across the nation, we’ve proven to be a critical resource to members by increasing the quality of safe and affordable housing, enhancing financial tools to develop and preserve housing units and improving the overall affordability of housing for low-income members and their families.

The communities we serve are comprised of one home, one family, one individual at a time.

Community engagement

Achieving our vision of greater health equity begins with organizations and individuals working together to focus on the whole health of the people they serve. As part of our mission to help transform health care in our state, we must create trustworthy feedback loops with our community partners.

CareSource will continue to provide resources to established organizations that focus on maternal, behavioral and rural health, as well as education, affordable housing and programs that support families in need.

For instance, the CareSource Foundation recently launched a $400,000 grant challenge for nonprofits across Florida to receive funding to assist in the health care needs of and access to health care for children in our state. The grant challenge also fosters communication with hundreds of nonprofits statewide, which nurtures a greater understanding of local health care challenges, a deeper connection to local communities and a whole-person approach to rectifying impediments to health equity.

Everyone benefits

Combined with our community outreach programs, CareSource Life Services® wholly addresses the unique challenges our members face. We are proud to offer these life-changing initiatives at no cost to our members.

We are dedicated to creating and implementing comprehensive programs that connect families to resources that aid in overcoming social, economic and environmental barriers – from securing full-time employment, caregiving support, food assistance, maternal health, behavioral well-being, transportation, housing, education/training opportunities, budgeting and more.

Addressing the whole health of a person is vital to reenergizing our health care system for the benefit of all Floridians. When we go beyond the traditional definition of health care to address opportunities for health equity in addition to physical care, everyone benefits.