Governor Ricketts Highlights Efforts to Improve Health Outcomes for Underserved Communities in Nebraska

Government and Politics

December 7, 2022

From: Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen

Lincoln – On Dec 6th, Governor Pete Ricketts held a press conference to highlight initiatives and organizations working to improve health outcomes for underserved communities in Nebraska.

The Governor was joined by Kevin Bagley, Director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), as well as Jeff Stafford, Chief Executive Officer of United Healthcare Community Plan of Nebraska.  Additional participants included Dr. Maureen Tierney, Associate Dean and Chair of Clinical Research & Public Health for Creighton University; Mike Hornacek, Chief Executive Officer of Together; and Ashley Aubry, Public Health Hygienist for Creighton University School of Dentistry Healthy Smiles Program.

During the press conference, Governor Ricketts discussed the importance of targeting Medicaid dollars to effectively address the health needs of underserved communities.

“We know there are many factors that can impact an individual’s health,” said Governor Ricketts. “At the State, we are working with our Medicaid health plans to address the conditions that contribute to health outcomes.  This includes supporting work like the pediatric dentistry done by Healthy Smiles and nutrition programs provided by Together.  Thank you to our community partners, including United Healthcare, for collaborating with us in this endeavor.”  

During the event, United Healthcare Community Plan of Nebraska announced a $5.4 million multi-year investment in the Creighton University Community Collaborative Program.  The investment, approved in collaboration with the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care, will provide funding to community-based organizations in North and South Omaha to address the social determinants of health that have the biggest impact in these communities.  

“We want to help strengthen the infrastructure of key community-based organizations,” said Jeff Stafford, CEO of the United Healthcare Community Plan of Nebraska.  “Our mission is to serve the needs of Nebraskans through innovative programs and community investments that reduce disparities and increase access to high-quality care.”

A variety of factors can affect an individual’s health, including the conditions in which people live and work.  By identifying and addressing the underlying health needs in underserved communities, Nebraska Medicaid is able to contribute to better health outcomes.

“The Medicaid program has an opportunity to add tremendous value for our communities,” said Director Bagley.  “These and similar investments by our health plans help us identify and address the needs of Nebraskans in innovative ways.  We’re grateful for partners committed to our mission of helping people live better lives.”

During the press conference, Governor Ricketts also provided an overview of his trade mission to Japan.  More information on the trade mission can be found here.

Video from Dec 6th’s press conference is available by clicking here.