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Content of Care
If the movement has an industry champion, it is Bronx, N.Y.-based Affinity Health Plan, a 245,000-member plan serving Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in the New York City metropolitan area. Dedicated to “operationalizing” health literacy, the company is engaging its workforce and providers in a sophisticated, multi-phased health literacy initiative, with the goal of ensuring that every staff/member interaction—verbal, written, or Web-based—conforms to the clear health communication principles. “Our core mission is to help our members to be as healthy as they can be,” says Abbe Abboa-Offei, Affinity’s vice president of Customer and Community Connections. “Health literacy supports that mission by helping our members understand their particular health situation and make the right decisions concerning their healthcare.”
Kantor sees Affinity, an HLI client, as a model for health literacy at the organizational level. “Instituting a successful program depends greatly on having executive-level buy-in, plus key internal sponsors and champions,” she says. “With leadership from CEO Maura Bluestone, Affinity is translating health literacy into a serious, long-term corporate commitment.”
The bottom line? “People who understand healthcare information are healthier,” says Kantor.