WellCare of Kentucky, a WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) company, and the WellCare Community Foundation donated $100,000 to Volunteers of America Mid-States, Inc. (VOA) to open a new residential addiction treatment program in Manchester, Kentucky for new and expectant mothers.
Robert Stivers, Kentucky’s state Senate president; Ben Orris, WellCare of Kentucky’s chief operating officer; and Jennifer Hancock, VOA’s president and CEO, announced the donation at the Clay County Fiscal Court in Manchester today.
VOA, which operates several treatment facilities across the commonwealth, identified a need for residential treatment for women in eastern Kentucky as there were no options for new and expectant mothers within an hour’s drive of Clay County.
The rate of babies born in Kentucky addicted to drugs and alcohol is climbing. In 2016, Kentucky’s Department of Public Health recorded 1,257 cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), representing more than 100 cases per month. More than half of those babies required pharmacological treatment.
Most mothers of NAS infants report their pregnancies were unintentional, while 80 percent of these mothers already have other children. Given the high rates of NAS – particularly in the eastern part of the state – the need for addiction treatment options for new and expectant mothers is particularly acute.
With WellCare’s donation, VOA plans to purchase, renovate and expand an existing facility in Manchester to house up to 16 women and their children. VOA will also offer a transitional intensive outpatient program with subsidized housing and case management supports. The new facility is expected to open in 2019.
New and expectant moms will be treated using evidence-based clinical care guidelines, including assessment and treatment planning; individual, group, and family therapy; case management services; peer support; and aftercare for graduates of the program.
“Few regions have been harder hit by the opioid epidemic than eastern Kentucky,” said Rhonda Mims, executive vice president and chief public affairs officer, WellCare, and president of the WellCare Community Foundation. “We believe healthy people begin with healthy communities. The WellCare Community Foundation is proud to partner with VOA to help promote health, well-being and quality of life for those struggling with addiction and the communities in which they live across the commonwealth.”
“Addiction impacts the health and well-being of entire families – from irregular child care, missed doctor’s appointments, lost jobs or even homelessness,” said William Jones, WellCare’s north division president and state president for Kentucky. “We are committed to helping our members access the right care and services when they need them most. That’s why we’re thrilled to work with VOA to offer greater access to convenient, accessible, quality healthcare facilities and addiction support services in Kentucky.”
“At Volunteers of America, we follow the need. We are so grateful for WellCare’s help in bringing vital services to a wonderful part of Kentucky that has not received the service, care and investment it deserves and needs to fight the opioid and addiction epidemic,” said Hancock. “With amazing partners like WellCare of Kentucky, we will help more moms overcome addiction, reunite with their families, raise healthy babies and start on the road to new lives.”
“So many mothers with addictions continue to suffer because they can’t get the help they need,” said Sen. Stivers. “We want to thank WellCare for their generous donation and supporting VOA’s new treatment center, which will help more families get a fresh start, establish healthy behaviors and create more stable communities.”
As of Dec. 31, 2018, WellCare serves approximately 444,000 Medicaid members, 14,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 22,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Kentucky.