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AmeriHealth Caritas Pennsylvania to Open Community Wellness Center in Reading

The wellness center will help residents address social determinants of health and improve health literacy.

Harrisburg, Pa. AmeriHealth Caritas Pennsylvania, a Medical Assistance (Medicaid) managed care plan serving Central and Northwestern Pennsylvania, announced today plans to open a community wellness center in Reading to help residents overcome the social, economic and environmental barriers to achieving and maintaining a healthy life.

The community wellness center will be located on the first floor of the Berkshire Building at 501 Washington Street in downtown Reading.

Open to members and non-members, it will offer a variety of services such as health education workshops, fitness and nutrition classes, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (S.N.A.P.) benefits counseling, new member orientations, and opportunities for members to complete their health risk assessments, and attend Mission GED classes to earn their general equivalency diplomas (GEDs).

“We want to help residents connect with social service organizations to obtain the resources and support to help them address the non-medical factors that can affect their health,” said AmeriHealth Caritas Pennsylvania Market President Marge Angello.

Partnerships with local social service agencies and non-profit, charitable organizations will be important in helping residents address social determinants that can be barriers to good health.

“Berks Counseling Center, as a local provider of integrated physical and behavioral health services, has worked closely with AmeriHealth Caritas for several years on efforts to promote health and wellness and provide social supports for the community we mutually serve,” said Berks Counseling Center CEO Christine Axford. “We applaud this new center that will bring these types of supports to more persons in need in our community and look forward to continued collaboration.”

Angello, who is also a registered nurse, said studies indicate that social determinants of health – the conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work and play – have a significant impact on a person’s long-term health.1 Addressing social determinants is important in mitigating the risk factors and the development of chronic diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, she explained. The wellness center will focus on coordinating preventative care and chronic disease management for members.

“To improve health outcomes for Medicaid enrollees, we are transforming the traditional model of managed care to address the outside influences that could affect their health,” Angello said.

1Magnan, S. "Social Determinants of Health 101 for Health Care: Five Plus Five." NAM Perspectives. Discussion Paper, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC. 2017. https://doi.org/10.31478/201710c