Tuesday, September 22, 2009


WIND Youth Services Awarded $400,000 Grant from UnitedHealth Group / PacifiCare to Continue the Creation of a Personalized Information System for Homeless and Marginalized Youth in Sacramento County

Funding will improve health access and outcomes for at-risk youth

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (September 22, 2009) — WIND Youth Services, a non-profit 501(c)(3) agency that was established to address the immediate and long-term needs of Sacramento area homeless, runaway, and street youth and their families, along with UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), today announced a $400,000 grant from UnitedHealth Group.

The grant will fund ‘HealthShack’—a pilot personalized health information system (PHIS) and health advocacy project to improve health access and outcomes for marginalized, homeless and systems based youth in Sacramento County.

California’s system-based youth, including the homeless and those aging out of foster care, are medically at risk and suffer from a lack of access and support for navigating the complex health care system. The overall goal of the ‘HealthShack’ program is to implement a youth-centered, youth-controlled, web-based confidential PHIS to assist with the coordination of medical and mental health services for vulnerable, marginalized youth and young adults. The program will help support three critical goals: 1) increase the number of youth with updated, centralized health information including health insurance eligibility, 2) increase access to and utilization of clinical services—including preventative care—and 3) increase youth self-efficacy to pursue steps towards improved health and well being.

“Wind Youth Services would like to thank UnitedHealth Group for investing in the youth of Sacramento,” said Ellyne Bell, Executive Director for WIND Youth Services. “This generous grant will enable us to move forward and fully implement our youth designed Personal Health Information System—the only program across the nation to have young people at the core of its design and implementation process. We hope this program will serve as a model for California and the nation by encouraging others to assist youth to take control of their personal health and well-being. We would also like to thank our partners, including The University of CaliforniaDavis, Sierra Health Foundation, Linkage to Education, and FollowMe Inc., all of whom are equal partners to the success of this program.”

WIND Youth Services expects to have the new program operational by the end of calendar year 2009.

“We applaud WIND Youth Services for their ongoing support and commitment to Sacramento’s at-risk youth and we are pleased to collaborate with them on such a vital initiative,” noted Steve Nelson, CEO, Western Region of UnitedHealthcare. “Personalized health information systems are critical to helping reduce medical errors and improving the quality of health care.”

The grant is part of a total of $25 million made available through an agreement with the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) to create a public benefit when UnitedHealthcare merged with PacifiCare of California in 2005.

“For teens who don’t have a medical home or consistent health care, this type of health record could help save lives, especially in an emergency situation,” said Cindy Ehnes, Director of the Department of Managed Health Care. “Over the past several years, these grants have helped California meet our goal of expanding the use of personal health records for everyone.”

About WIND Youth Services

WIND Youth Services, founded in 1994, is a Sacramento-based non-profit 501(c)(3) agency that was established to directly address the immediate and long-range needs of the Sacramento area homeless, runaway, and street youth and their families. Its main focus is to provide homeless / street youth with help to move from crisis to healthy functioning. Its activities follow a strengthbased youth development format nationally recognized as a "best practice" approach to working with vulnerable youth that builds on the individual strengths and abilities of each young person. With the support of its caring and professional staff, at-risk youth have the opportunity to achieve healthy functioning and self-sufficiency. Through forming nurturing, trusting relationships and involving them in meaningful personal and community activities, they will improve their skills, self-esteem and ability to pursue safe, healthy, happy lives. For more information, please visit: www.windyouth.org.

About UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group (www.unitedhealthgroup.com) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to making health care work better. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through six operating businesses: UnitedHealthcare, Ovations, AmeriChoice, OptumHealth, Ingenix, and Prescription Solutions. Through its family of businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 70 million individuals nationwide.