WellCare Gives $24,000 Grant to Make Health Care More Accessible for the Homeless in Warren County, Kentucky

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WellCare Health Plans, Inc. announced today that it extended its three-year partnership with HOTEL INC by contributing a $24,000 grant to support the organization’s Street Medicine Program.

Elvis, a 54 year-old homeless man, is pictured clearly seeing himself for the first time with new glasses provided by the Street Medicine Program.

“Homelessness is a health crisis as it frequently co-occurs with a complex mix of severe physical, behavioral, substance abuse and social problems,” said Dr. Howard Shaps, medical director for WellCare of Kentucky.

WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), a leading provider of managed care services for government-sponsored health care programs, announced today that it extended its three-year partnership with HOTEL INC by contributing a $24,000 grant to support the organization’s Street Medicine Program. The program is designed to increase health care access for those who are homeless and precariously-housed in Warren County, Kentucky.

HOTEL INC’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness to build self-sufficient households. The Street Medicine Program offers medical assessment, including health screenings, flu shots, blood work, dental care and vision tests. It also provides referrals to case management services and vouchers that the homeless can use for services that may not be covered by health insurance including medication and doctor copays, dental care, eyeglasses and transportation services.

This program benefits those in need, like Elvis, a 54 year old who has lived in his car for four years, hadn’t seen a doctor since childhood and hadn’t seen an eye doctor in seven years. It took the street medicine team and WellCare employees more than six months to earn his trust so they could convince him to see a medical doctor, eye doctor and dentist. The team anticipates Elvis will have permanent housing within the month.

“Poor health is both the cause and a result of homelessness,” said Rhondell Miller, executive director of HOTEL INC. “WellCare’s support has allowed us to initially create and now expand our Street Medicine Program, doubling our outreach to four teams offering much-needed health care to area homeless four times a week.”

“Homelessness is a health crisis as it frequently co-occurs with a complex mix of severe physical, behavioral, substance abuse and social problems,” said Dr. Howard Shaps, medical director for WellCare of Kentucky. “These issues often drive increased emergency room usage and hospitalizations, and the homeless experience an average life expectancy as low as 41 years. It is critical that business, government and communities work together to make a meaningful difference for those who do not have a safe place to call home.”

To learn more about HOTEL INC and how to support its efforts go to http://www.hotelincbg.com.

As of March 31, 2015, WellCare serves approximately 441,000 Medicaid members, 6,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 21,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Kentucky. To learn more about how we care for Kentuckians, watch Brandi’s story at http://youtu.be/YwOw5EgeSYo. To see more about WellCare’s work with Hotel Inc, watch the company’s story at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.

About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. WellCare serves approximately 3.8 million members nationwide as of March 31, 2015. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company's website at http://www.wellcare.com or view the company’s videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.

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Michele Pinnau