Meridian and Centene Foundation Award $1.1 Million Grant to Neighborhood Service Organization in Michigan

Today, Meridian, a prominent managed care organization in Michigan and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, along with the Centene Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Centene Corporation, announced a generous $1.1 million grant to the Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), an integrated health and human service agency located in Detroit. This grant is earmarked to support NSO’s Medical Respite program, which aims to enhance access to health and recuperative care for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Kelly McDonald, Meridian’s senior director of population health and clinical operations, expressed pride in the partnership with NSO, emphasizing their commitment to addressing health disparities among the homeless population. She highlighted the grant’s role in providing a safe and supportive environment for individuals to recover from illness and injury, while also promoting proactive coordinated care to address broader health disparities.

The NSO program, based at the Detroit Healthy Housing Center, offers a comprehensive array of healthcare, social support, and job training services to individuals experiencing homelessness who are too frail or ill to recuperate in an unhoused environment but do not require hospitalization. With an expected annual service capacity of 165 individuals and an average stay of 30 days, the program aims to assist clients in transitioning to stable housing while simultaneously reducing healthcare costs associated with avoidable hospital visits.

Linda Little, President and CEO of NSO, emphasized the organization’s commitment to ensuring healthcare access as a fundamental human right. She praised the partnership with Meridian and the Centene Foundation as a testament to this commitment and highlighted the program’s focus on providing dignified care to all individuals, regardless of housing status.

Despite the expansion of medical respite programs nationwide, the demand for such services in Detroit significantly exceeds available capacity, underscoring the urgent need to address homelessness in the city. NSO’s Medical Respite program, operational since 2023, has shown promising results in reducing hospital admissions, emergency department visits, and overall healthcare spending. Additionally, the program aims to address underlying causes of homelessness, such as mental illness and substance abuse, by improving access to preventive healthcare and community resources.

Terra Linzer, Homelessness Solutions Director at the City of Detroit’s Housing & Revitalization Department, commended NSO for its lifesaving service to the city’s most vulnerable residents, particularly amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through their investment in the Medical Respite program, Meridian and the Centene Foundation reaffirm their commitment to improving healthcare access and promoting a healthier, more secure future for the Detroit community.

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