LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2022) — Over the past few years, many medically underserved Kentuckians have delayed seeking care to help manage chronic conditions or to make preventative medical appointments. First, COVID-19 restrictions kept people from making appointments. Now, a steep rise in gas prices has made getting to appointments even more difficult.
To alleviate the financial strain of high gas prices and to encourage people to make and keep important appointments, Kentucky Homeplace (KHP) and WellCare of Kentucky have partnered to distribute free gas cards to current WellCare Medicaid members. KHP, a program of the University of Kentucky’s Center of Excellence in Rural Health (UK CERH), is coordinating the distribution in their 32-county service area in Eastern Kentucky.
“We understand that many individuals have fallen behind on preventive care during the pandemic and as a result of the high cost of gas,” said Fran Feltner, Ph.D., director of the UK CERH and principal investigator of KHP. “This program is going to help a lot of people get back on track.”
The project is supported by a $15,000 gift from WellCare.
“Lack of transportation is often a barrier for our members, especially those who live in more rural areas,” said Corey Ewing, plan president and CEO of WellCare. “We don’t want the inability to fill their tank to keep them from making and keeping what in some cases can be livesaving appointments.”
KHP community health workers will identify clients in their 32-county service area of Eastern Kentucky who have fallen behind on preventive care, and who are WellCare Medicaid members, to connect them with this opportunity.
About WellCare Kentucky
WellCare of Kentucky provides government-sponsored managed care services to families, children, seniors, and individuals with complex needs primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans across the state. WellCare is a wholly subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading health care enterprise committed to helping people live healthier lives. For more information, please visit www.wellcare.com/kentucky.
About Kentucky Homeplace
Residents of rural Kentucky have unusually high levels of certain diseases. These include cancer, heart disease, hypertension, asthma and diabetes. Lifestyle choices, environmental factors, inadequate health insurance and general lack of understanding of the healthvcare system are often cited as contributing to this condition. Kentucky Homeplace was created in 1994 by the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health to help address these issues. Based in Hazard, Kentucky, Kentucky Homeplace’s 32-county community health worker initiative has linked tens of thousands of rural Kentuckians with medical, social and environmental services they otherwise might have gone without. For more information, visit http://kyruralhealth.org.
About the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health
The University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health was established by state legislation in 1990 to address health disparities in rural Kentucky and the unique challenges faced by our communities. The mission was and still is today to improve the health and well-being of rural Kentuckians. For more than three decades, the center has partnered with communities, providers, students and individuals to provide health professions education, health policy research, health care service and community engagement toward reaching this mission. For more information, visit kyruralhealth.org.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.