Highmark, AHN and Gateway Health launch online tool to meet critical needs during COVID-19 pandemic
April 14, 2020
Due to the increased need for access to social service resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and Gateway Health are implementing an online social care network, Aunt Bertha, to serve as a referral tool for urgent needs.
Aunt Bertha connects people to resources that can assist with addressing needs such as food, housing and transportation, and is available to all members and patients served across Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and nationally.
“At this critical time, we understood the importance of fast-tracking our implementation of the Aunt Bertha tool,” said Dan Onorato, executive vice president, Highmark Health. “Connecting those in need of food, housing and other resources to social service agencies that can address those needs is a priority for Highmark.”
According to Mr. Onorato, the organizations have been working to launch Aunt Bertha but accelerated the process because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent social needs of the community.
Thousands of nonprofits and social care providers serve their communities, but for many, navigating the system to get help can be difficult, time consuming and frustrating, especially during a time of heightened confusion and stress. Aunt Bertha allows users to find nearby community benefit organizations (CBOs)—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.
The Aunt Bertha directory contains geographic-specific information on social service agencies and CBOs across the United States. COVID-19 specific resources also will be listed on the Aunt Bertha site. Once a zip code is entered, online users can filter for specific needs. There are no income restraints or financial cost to use Aunt Bertha. In addition to public access, providers, social workers and care coordinators across the Highmark, AHN and Gateway Health enterprise can access information and recommend services.
“Even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we're seeing people all across the country join together to help their neighbors navigate this stressful time,” said Aunt Bertha Founder and CEO Erine Gray. "We're honored to be partnering with the teams at Highmark, AHN and Gateway Health, and we continue to be impressed with their innovative approaches to helping their members and patients."
Aunt Bertha can be accessed by visiting the Medical and Community Resources page at HighmarkAnswers.com, AHN.org/coronavirus or GatewayHealthPlan.com/coronavirus. These pages will also provide a multitude of COVID-19 response information.