WellCare Health Plans of New Jersey, Inc., a healthcare insurance carrier for individuals and families with NJ Family Care coverage, has undertaken a most altruistic and creative initiative to benefit the Lakewood community. As part of the company’s innovative Community Connections program, WellCare representatives recently met with leadership members of several non-profit social service resource agencies servicing the Lakewood community.
The initiative, known as the Community Impact Council, was designed to mobilize and bring together these entities to promote coordinated efforts and explore the advantages that cooperation and interaction can yield. Some of the participating organizations included Agudath Israel of America, Aim Habonim/Yad Rachel, Congregation Minyan Shelanu, Lakewood Resource and Referral Center (LRRC), Professional Career Services (PCS), Lakewood Community Services Corporation (LCSC), Lev Rochel Bikur Cholim, Chai Lifeline, Hatzolah EMS of Lakewood, Nesivos of Lakewood, Avnei Kodesh (Tekumah/Regesh), Eim Leah, and Nagilla.
“We consider it a priority to partner with stakeholders in the community to collaboratively address the needs of the populations which we serve,” says Ms. Aviva Woog, who serves as WellCare’s Community Connections Manager. “The goal is to identify gaps in services and discuss potential sustainable partnerships to meet the needs of the community through collaboration.”
Although relatively new to the Lakewood community, WellCare is a nationwide carrier with 6.3 million members nationwide and 124,000 Medicaid and Medicare members in New Jersey. It’s size and experience notwithstanding, WellCare still operates with personal and friendly service, making it an attractive new alternative for community members with NJ Family Care.
“The WellCare representatives definitely exerted much effort in trying to really understand the unique needs of our community,” says Mrs. Sarah Gelbwachs, Executive Director of the LCSC who attended the kickoff meeting. “It was very impressive.”
In addition to facilitating organizational collaboration, WellCare actively promotes health and wellness by offering Community Impact Grants. These meaningful monetary awards are given to several community-based organizations who most effectively demonstrate a track record of addressing communal needs in the areas of social determinants of health.
“Investing in the health of the communities we serve is part of the WellCare mission,” explains Mr. John Kirchner, NJ Plan President at WellCare. “It’s a real fulfillment of our slogan: Beyond Healthcare, A Better You. it’s what differentiates us as a company that really goes beyond just providing insurance.”
From their unique vantage point, WellCare correctly perceives the social services safety net as critical to positive health outcomes, not only for WellCare members, but for the entire community. The Community Connections program is in fact a national effort at WellCare, with the goal of fostering increased community impact in improved health outcomes through investment and partnership. To date, WellCare of NJ’s Community Connection program has invested more than $200,000 in community-based health initiatives throughout New Jersey.
It’s definitely comforting to know that a new and welcome ally is working alongside our own dedicated organizations, making a great communal infrastructure even greater.