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

Meridian, a leading managed care organization in Michigan and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC), along with the Centene Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Centene Corporation, announced today a $1.1 million grant to the Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), an integrated health and human service agency based in Detroit. This grant will support NSO’s Medical Respite program, aimed at increasing access to health and recuperative care for individuals experiencing homelessness.

“Meridian and the Centene Foundation are proud to partner with NSO to improve health disparities for individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Kelly McDonald, Meridian’s senior director of population health and clinical operations. “The grants will provide individuals with a safe, stable, and supportive environment to recover from illness and injury. By focusing on proactive coordinated care, this partnership offers a tangible solution that can be expanded to address health disparities in a range of health conditions and outcomes.”

Operating from the Detroit Healthy Housing Center, the NSO program provides comprehensive healthcare, social support, and job training to homeless individuals who are too frail or ill to recover in an unhoused environment but do not require hospitalization. The program expects to serve 165 individuals annually, with an average stay of 30 days, providing services and support on their path to stable housing. This approach can generate healthcare savings by promoting stable housing and reducing avoidable hospital visits.

“NSO believes that healthcare is a fundamental human right, and our partnership with Meridian and the Centene Foundation is a testament to our commitment to ensuring that every individual, regardless of their housing situation, has access to the care they need to lead healthier and more dignified lives,” said Linda Little, President and CEO of NSO.

Despite the nationwide expansion of medical respite programs, with over 75 programs in 30 states, the demand for beds in Detroit exceeds the 45 available. With an estimated 1,280 homeless individuals on any given night in the city, according to point-in-time data from the Home Action Network of Detroit, there is a significant gap in meeting the needs of those without shelter.

Since opening in 2023, NSO’s Medical Respite program has shown promising results in decreasing inpatient admissions, reducing emergency department utilization, and lowering healthcare spending. Additionally, the program is improving access to preventive healthcare, addressing root causes of homelessness such as mental illness and substance abuse. It also connects individuals to permanent housing, social services, job training, and other community resources.

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the unmet needs of homeless individuals requiring recuperative care. They deserve a safe place to recover, and NSO’s Medical Respite program offers just that. NSO is providing a lifesaving service for our most vulnerable Detroiters,” said Terra Linzer, Homelessness Solutions Director, City of Detroit’s Housing & Revitalization Department.

By investing in the Medical Respite program, Meridian and the Centene Foundation further their commitment to improving healthcare access for people experiencing homelessness, ensuring a healthier and more secure future for the Detroit community.

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