Special to 1812Blockhouse

CareSource, a nationally recognized nonprofit health plan, has donated $1,000,000.00 to The Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, Inc. (AAA5).

The gift will provide AAA5 the opportunity to expand the programs that will reach vulnerable individuals of all ages, demographics, and communities within Ashland, Crawford, Huron, Knox, Marion, Morrow, Richland, Seneca, and Wyandot Counties. The AAA5 understands CareSource’s mission is one that involves the heart; eliminate poverty, provide much-needed services to low-and moderate-income families, encourage healthy communities, develop innovative approaches to address critical health issues, and enhance the lives of a diverse array of children, adults, and families.

AAA5 will expand the current Helping Elderly Meet Essential Needs (HEMEN) program under this funding. HEMEN is designed with the intent to provide one-time essential items needed to help individuals remain safe and independent in the home that are often not covered by other programs and/or funding sources.

“Everyday items that some may take for granted are life-changing for others. Providing a vacuum or an air conditioner unit could help them remain safe, independent, and healthy in their community and homes,” stated Diane Ramey, Chief Clinical Officer.

AAA5 has also realized the great need for the work of a Community Health Worker (CHW) in the counties we serve. The goal of a CHW is to improve health and social equity. CHWs can work with individuals to identify individually modifiable risk factors (spanning medical, social, and behavioral health needs) and address those risk factors by capitalizing on the strong, trusting relationships CHWs develop over time with the individuals and families they serve. Many risk factors hinge on changes in individual behavior related to things like nutrition, education, parenting, or compliance with medical care. CHWs, who regularly visit clients in their homes, are in a unique role to be able not only to support coordination of care, but to also coach and support individuals to learn new skills, get access to needed services, and make vital behavioral changes to improve their health and social outcomes.

The work of the CHW assures focus on our communities’ most at-risk populations and through evidence based and outcome focused steps, assuring individuals connect to primary care and prevention services, behavioral health, housing, food, clothing, adult education, and employment. It has been the vision and passion of AAA to continue to grow this program. This funding opportunity would allow us to expand and hire a full-time CHW to reach vulnerable individuals of all ages, demographics, and communities within our nine-county region.

The funding from CareSource will provide an opportunity to hire an additional CHW to the current team of four CHWs at the Agency.

“The Area Agency on Aging is honored and privileged to receive this gift.  Many times our traditional state , federal, and local funds do not cover all the needs for whom we serve. This gift will allow us to provide essential services to individuals who want to remain safe, independent, and in their own home. This is not just a gift to the Area Agency on Aging, it is a generous gift to those we serve.  I’m grateful for the relationship we have with CareSource and appreciate their support,” stated Duana Patton, Chief Executive Officer.

“CareSource knows the importance of partnering with local organizations who are already doing

great work for Ohioans,” said Steve Ringel, president of CareSource Ohio. “We are proud to

support the Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, Inc. as they work to expand their programs to help vulnerable individuals.”

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