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05/18/2022

Aetna recognizes Sacramento Covered, Sacramento Self-Help Housing with Community Heart awards, donations

The funding will help individuals experiencing homelessness address barriers to safe and affordable housing.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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Aetna Better Health of California’s Community Heart Award

Aetna, a CVS Health company, acknowledged the local contributions of Sacramento Covered and Sacramento Self-Help Housing by presenting each with an Aetna Better Health of California’s Community Heart Award and $25,000 donation.

Aetna Better Health of California’s Community Heart Award honors organizations and unsung heroes for their extraordinary work, service and contributions to positively affect California’s underserved communities. Sacramento Covered and Sacramento Self-Help Housing received awards for their dedication to providing unhoused individuals in the Sacramento area with care coordination and greater access to health care.

“We’re committed to positively impacting the health and well-being of individuals and families in the Sacramento area that need support,” said Kelly Munson, president of Aetna Medicaid. “Championing community partners like Sacramento Covered and Sacramento Self-Help Housing activates more personalized support and connected resources, which are critical to empowering those on a path to stability.”

Homelessness is a significant challenge for the community and is increasing. Research from California Steps Forward shows that approximately 12,000 people experienced homelessness in Sacramento in 2021, the company said. 

[Read more: Pharmacy tackles big underlying health obstacles

“For decades, these organizations have focused on homelessness and targeted the social barriers to good health,” said Verne Brizendine, CEO of Aetna Better Health of California. “Aetna’s support is recognition of their commitment to driving understanding of a more complete picture of what those who experience homelessness are facing and doing something about it.”

Sacramento Covered helps connect people to health coverage; nutritious food; medical, dental and behavioral health providers; transportation to medical appointments; housing services; language interpreter services; and other critical resources. Its community health workers meet clients in homeless encampments, on the streets, in shelters, at hospitals and in clients' homes to provide intensive outreach and case management.

“With Aetna Better Health's donation, Sacramento Covered will be able to better support the housing needs of our clients experiencing homelessness,” said Kelly Bennet, CEO of Sacramento Covered. “This grant will augment our flexible housing fund we can use for client-identified needs like furniture, security deposits, rental application fees and other expenses that help move them into more stable housing situations.”

Sacramento Self-Help Housing assists individuals and families who have insufficient resources for affordable, safe and permanent housing. Its programs include permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, financial education, a tenant-landlord helpline, housing counseling and community development.

[Read more: Pharmacy of the future: Integrating SDOH to understand patient needs]

“Homelessness is a big challenge for the Sacramento region,” said John Foley, CEO of Sacramento Self-Help Housing. “We have never seen so many unhoused people in Sacramento, and sadly many have significant health issues. Through this generous donation, we’ll be better able to tackle the challenge of homeless encampments, helping to relocate individuals living on the street or in tents to living with a roof over their head.”

Under its California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal initiative, the state authorized Enhanced Care Management and 14 Community Support Services, including housing navigation and deposits, to address social determinants of health for people in need. Aetna Better Health of California provides Enhanced Care Management and was the first managed care plan in California to offer all 14 Community Support Services to qualified Medi-Cal members. 

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