Corporate Social Responsibility
Despite spending more on health care than any other country in the world, Americans live shorter, less healthy lives than our counterparts in other high-income nations. As a country, we often wait until we are sick to worry about our health care. With this approach, we frequently neglect the areas that influence approximately 60 percent of a person’s life expectancy—our individual behaviors and the social and environmental factors around us.
While this is a national problem, our local communities are where we have the power to influence our health more than ever before. Through Aetna’s corporate social responsibility efforts, we are supporting organizations that are addressing the unique challenges their communities face, improving the health of the people who live there.
Building Healthy Communities
The Aetna Foundation is focused on Building Healthy Communities through locally based programs, dynamic partnerships and proven models that can help accelerate progress everywhere. The following initiatives are helping make this happen:
Putting Health on the Agenda, One Community at a Time
Through a unique collaboration with U.S. News & World Report, the Aetna Foundation introduced the first annual Healthiest Communities rankings in March 2018, showcasing cities and towns that are doing the best job of improving their citizens’ health through innovative programming, strategic partnerships and expanded public health assessments. As a comprehensive evaluation of more than 3,000 communities in 10 health-related categories, the findings will shine a light on those places that are improving the health of individuals and families, and
ultimately promote change in the way in which all communities think about and pursue improvements in
Supporting Healthy Cities and Counties
In 2016, the Aetna Foundation launched the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. Through this Challenge, the Foundation will award $1.5 million in prizes to small and midsized cities and counties that are able to show measurable improvements in health outcomes over the course of several years through cross-sector partnerships. The 50 cities and counties in the Challenge are improving the health of local communities, and in January 2018 the Aetna Foundation recognized 10 “Spotlight Award” winners that have demonstrated progress around key social determinants of health.
Starting at the Community Level
The Aetna Foundation’s “Cultivating Healthy Communities” grants support organizations working on important issues such as access to healthy food and safe places to play. The grantees are designing local solutions to local problems, and striving to improve the health of their communities. The 2017 grants provided more than $2 million to 25 organizations, which will support improvements for more than 300,000 people across the country.
Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
The opioid epidemic presents a clear and present threat to our communities and health care resources. In addition to the various approaches that Aetna is taking to address this crisis, the Aetna Foundation will provide grants totaling $6 million to fund state and local projects with the potential to make a difference addressing opioid-related challenges. In February 2018, North Carolina was the first state to receive a grant through the Aetna Foundation’s initiative, with The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition receiving $1 million to help fund its “Rural Opioid Overdose Prevention Project.” In March 2018, the Aetna Foundation provided a $1 million grant to the Pennsylvania Department of Health to support an innovative opioid “dashboard” that will better facilitate a collaborative response to the opioid crisis and save more lives in Pennsylvania.
Responding in the face of disaster
Our employees are helpful, supportive members of the communities where we live, work and play, volunteering more than 515,000 hours of their time in 2017. Aetna employees, retirees and directors also generously donated $6.9 million through the company’s matching gift program.
While we are committed to our communities every day, this dedication and caring is never more apparent than when disaster strikes. When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana in August—followed by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria tearing through the southeast part of the U.S. and Puerto Rico weeks later—Aetna and our employees immediately took action to help the communities impacted by the disasters.
The Aetna Foundation contributed $200,000 to the American Red Cross to aid with relief efforts in response
to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as a $100,000 disaster relief grant in support of the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico. Beyond these grants, Aetna employees, retirees and directors generously donated over $230,000 for Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma. Matched dollar-for-dollar by the Aetna Foundation, cumulative giving was more than $460,000 to support victims of these devastating, consecutive disasters.
As with most natural disasters, we modified our pharmacy polices to make sure that our members received the medications that they needed before, during and after these hurricanes. We provided free “virtual” general medical services to anyone impacted by the hurricanes through Teladoc®, Aetna’s telehealth provider. And we offered our Resources For Living® services to people in these areas—whether they were Aetna members or not—to cope with the emotional impact and for assistance with finding resources, such as shelters, government resources and referrals.
Beyond our company’s support during these trying times, our employees were on the ground, helping their fellow community members. We had nurse case managers and other employees helping to evacuate residents from local nursing homes, performing wellness checks and delivering food and other supplies to response teams and people in shelters. During the week of September 19, we opened our office in Jacksonville to not only address questions about insurance and prescriptions, but also to provide water, food and supplies to local Aetna members in need.
Our mission is to build a healthier world. Our corporate social responsibility efforts allow us to make this difference—one community, one person at a time.