Welcome to our new community-focused blog series, called “Keep Us.” Each month, we will focus on a new theme aimed at our collective effort and impact to keep us all connected to care and living our best lives with health, security, and dignity.
The winter weather has most of the country staying indoors and keeping warm. It’s a good time to keep utilities assistance for your clients top of mind as you assess their needs and connect them to care in your community.
In 2021, utility bills increased by 10.4% in the U.S., impacting low-income households in particular. The rise in energy costs has increased the need for utility bill assistance this winter—and we’re here to help you connect your clients to the resources they need.
Utilities Access and Social Determinants of Health
Organizations providing health and social care are well positioned to identify who may suffer from heat insecurity. During initial screenings and ongoing checks, you can find individuals who might require energy bill assistance. You can help provide energy resources for your clients in need even if utilities assistance isn’t part of your organization’s mission by connecting them to those services in a coordinated care network.
Comprehensive Care Through Partnership
Partnering with Unite Us simplifies your organization’s ability to refer clients to organizations that do provide energy assistance. Garry Bliss, Medicaid AE Program Director at Prospect Health Service says that Prospect Health Service’s partnership with Unite Rhode Island and Unite Us “enables us to transform what health means for individuals and families. Together, we can provide truly comprehensive care so our patients and clients can enjoy healthier lives.”
Take these four steps to help your clients stay warm this winter:
1. Connect with your Unite Us community engagement managers and local team.
We believe in meeting you where you’re at — literally. Unite Us has regional community engagement managers and teams in 48 states across the country. Our team can help you build and scale your coordinated care network so you can support your community members by connecting them with services they need, like utilities assistance.
Our local teams also help your care community work together to identify service gaps and at-risk populations, so together you can enable members of your community to take ownership of their health.
2. Join your regional Unite Us network.
We have Unite Us networks across the United States. Joining your regional network ensures that you have access to local partners that provide a broad range of services such as housing, employment, food assistance, behavioral health, in addition to utility bill assistance.
The platform also gives you access to tools that help measure the impact of your services and track referral outcomes, allowing your organization to build tighter collaborations with other community-based organizations.
3. Ask clients about their needs through utilities screening.
When a person needs utility bill assistance, the first line of care often lies within their communities. That’s why it’s important for community-based organizations to be well prepared with the right tools and resources to connect people to services when they need help.
Unite Us’ comprehensive screening tools walk you step by step through the questions to ask individuals in your community to connect them to the health and social care they need. We help you understand the types of resources that individuals may need or be eligible for, such as utilities assistance, and what organizations can help.
4. Send a referral through Unite Us.
We help community-based organizations streamline the process of sending and receiving social care referrals so they can deliver more holistic, whole-person care to individuals in their community and track the impact of their work.
In communities across the country, utilities assistance providers are utilizing the Unite Us Platform to send electronic referrals on behalf of individuals to other organizations in the community. Not sure where to send someone? The Unite Us Platform will automatically suggest a referral based on screening answers, so you can rest assured knowing you are sending people to providers that are the best fit for their unique needs.
We want to meet you! Find your local network today, and start helping clients who need utility bill assistance get through this winter.