How an advocacy program may help support health

Last year, Gayle* suffered a serious fall that left her unable to move her legs. She was having a hard time taking care of herself and had to move in with a family member, who lived in a remote area. This left her struggling to find the right resources to help manage her day-to-day health needs.

Recently, Gayle realized that she was running low on medication. Due to her injury and lack of transportation, she needed someone to make a house call or conduct a virtual care visit to get her prescription filled.

Unfortunately, she continued to hit roadblocks. She couldn’t find a doctor in her new community, which meant she was also missing crucial, regular check-ups to help effectively manage her health. Gayle didn’t know where to turn for help. Then she met Corinne Crabtree, an Advocate4Me Senior Health Care Advocate.

An advocate sits at her computer with a headset


Corinne called different care professionals in Gayle’s community to help her find the right fit. Once she found a care professional who could help, Gayle’s next challenge was physically getting to the doctor’s office for an initial visit before proceeding with virtual care.

“Gayle didn’t have transportation,” Corinne said. “I needed to find some way to get her there. I was not letting this go without doing everything I possibly could to make sure Gayle was able to get to the doctor and get the medicine she desperately needed. Her life depended on it.”

As an advocate experienced in care navigation and support, Corrine utilized a new capability within the UnitedHealthcare Advocacy product, designed to help connect members to community-based resources for those struggling with social determinants of health. Through this capability, Corrine found a program that may help Gayle with non-emergency ground transportation — for patients like Gayle who lack reliable transportation.

By identifying the conditions that may influence a person’s overall well-being, or the social determinants of health, UnitedHealthcare Advocates may be able to help remove barriers that can prevent access health care. When eligible UnitedHealthcare members call in, the advocates listen for phrases like “I lost my home” or “I lack transportation,” to help find support that may be low or no-cost community resources.

The new capability also uses predictive analytics to help proactively identify eligible members most likely in need of support, leveraging de-identified claims data from more than 100 million patients, like Gayle, to help determine who may need support when dealing with challenging life events or circumstances. Research suggests that various social barriers impact up to 80% of a person’s health.[1]

Advocates like Corinne are then able to provide a personal, compassionate and simplified experience, helping members successfully navigate the health care system and improve health. 

“I checked back in on her account and confirmed that she did get to the doctor and was able to get the medicine she needed,” Corrine said. "That is what makes me love my job; helping people live longer, healthier lives.”

*Name has been changed to ensure privacy.

[1] Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2019, https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2019/02/medicaid-s-role-in-addressing-social-determinants-of-health.html