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Press Releases

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Highmark’s Free Online Social Care Network Reaches 100,000 Search Milestone

The top five needs sought by users include housing, health, food, transit, and goods

PITTSBURGH (September 14, 2021) – Highmark Health’s online social care networks, Highmark Community Support Platform and AHN Community Support, recorded their 100,000th search query this past week, proving their continued use as valuable reference tools for the urgent needs of community members across Highmark’s footprint.

Launched in April 2020 due to the increased need for access to social service resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Highmark Community Support Platform is powered by online social care network Aunt Bertha and connects users to resources that can assist with addressing needs such as food, housing, and transportation. The free platform is available to all members and patients served across Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and nationally, as well as community members.

“This milestone for the Community Support platforms tells us that many people in our communities are still struggling to find basic needs to live day-to-day lives,” shared Nebeyou Abebe, senior vice president of social determinants of health, Highmark Health. “Our ongoing work to help individuals address social needs that are barriers to good health will remain a priority for Highmark Health as we continue to create a world where everyone embraces health.”

Of the 100,000 search queries, the top five needs included housing, health, food, transit, and goods across all Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware communities. The most searched zip codes included Pittsburgh’s Northside (15212); New Castle, DE (19720); Wilmington, DE (19805 and 19801); and Dover DE (19901).

In Delaware, staff members working with Delaware Medicaid members are referred to the Highmark Health Options Community Support, which also utilizes the Aunt Bertha directory. Data from the Highmark Community Support, AHN Community Support, and Highmark Health Options Community Support platforms feed into the overall combined statistics for the enterprise platform.  

The Highmark Community Support platform is one of many initiatives led by Highmark's social determinants of health (SDOH) team. While SDOH is considered a relatively new term, Highmark has been addressing social needs that are barriers to good health for decades. In the last five years alone, Highmark has committed nearly half a billion dollars in SDOH-related initiatives, including strategic community partnerships, workforce and economic development and access to care.

The platform contains geographic-specific information on social service agencies and community benefit organizations across the United States. Once a zip code is entered, online users can filter for specific needs. There are no income restraints or financial costs to use the Highmark Community Support platform. In addition to public access, providers, social workers, and care coordinators across the Highmark Health enterprise can access information and recommend services.

While thousands of nonprofits and social care providers serve their communities, navigating the system to get help can be difficult, time-consuming and frustrating. The Highmark Community Support Platform allows users to find nearby community benefit organizations — making it easier for people to access social services in their neighborhoods, for nonprofits to coordinate their efforts, and for healthcare providers to integrate social care into their work.

Highmark is also working to expand the license of the Highmark Community Support to incorporate the eight counties of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York and the 13 counties of Highmark Blue Shield of Northeastern New York in the platform as well, though users within those areas can still access services by entering their zip codes.

For additional questions, users can email SDOHTeam@highmark.com.

About Highmark Inc.

One of America's leading health insurance organizations and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Highmark Inc. (the Health Plan) and its affiliated health plans (collectively, the Health Plans) work passionately to deliver high-quality, accessible, understandable, and affordable experiences, outcomes, and solutions to customers. As the fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization, Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates proudly cover the insurance needs of more than 6 million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and West Virginia. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance and other related businesses. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

For more information, contact

Emily Beatty
Highmark Inc.
Emily.beatty@highmarkhealth.org