Centene To Invest In New Technology, Supplies To Improve Access To Quality Healthcare For Incarcerated Population
Centene continues its commitment to support the most vulnerable populations affected by COVID-19

ST. LOUIS, May 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Centene (NYSE: CNC) today announced a series of investments and commitments aimed at supporting the incarcerated population and the staff that serve them. The company announced new investments in technology that will improve access to care, reinforced its commitment to providing key medical supplies to the incarcerated population during the pandemic, and announced an expansion of its social determinants of health efforts to support those in the prison system.

"It is our mission to protect and advocate for the most vulnerable populations, and incarcerated individuals have some of the greatest healthcare needs," said Michael Neidorff, Chairman, President and CEO of Centene. "Today we are doubling down on our commitment to this population and making investments that will improve the system's ability to serve them over the long-term."

Improving access to care through technology

Today, the company has announced that it is doubling its investment in telehealth technology solutions in prisons through Centurion, a Centene subsidiary and a leading provider of medical and mental health services to state prison systems, to expand primary and specialty care encounters with inmates and medical professionals. The additional investment will expand the company's primary and medical capabilities by 200% and provide an additional 3,000 mental health visits on a monthly basis.

"Centurion has a track record of improving outcomes upon entering new markets.  Our ability to leverage Centene's diabetes management program is recognized even more during this health crisis. Infusing technology into prison systems can significantly improve access to quality care," said Centurion Chief of Clinical Operations, Johnny Wu, MD, FACP, FACCP, CCHP-A, who will be helping drive the implementation of these changes. "We continue to address patients' acute needs during the pandemic, while investing in technology to protect their well-being in the long-term."

This new investment will expand the capacity of these services and help more incarcerated individuals get immediate access to remote care. Centurion's telehealth services currently provide approximately 10,000 mental health and 2,500 primary medical and specialty care appointments monthly.   

Expanding PPE Supplies in Prisons to Combat COVID-19

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Centurion has ensured that all of its partner agencies and state departments of correction have had access to the critical medical supplies they need to serve the incarcerated population.  Today, the company is reinforcing its commitment to provide personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and COVID-19 tests. 

"Access to critical medical supplies should not be an obstacle to care for incarcerated individuals," said, Steven H. Wheeler, CEO of Centurion. "We will continue to source, distribute and supply necessary medical equipment to prison systems in need. We are proud of the partnerships with our national lab companies and local departments of health, and no incarcerated individual under our medical care that meets criteria has waited for or been denied a COVID-19 test. During this challenging time, we must come together to protect incarcerated individuals and the staff that serve them."

All of Centurion's partner agencies and the state departments of correction that Centurion works with have eliminated co-pays for COVID-19 related evaluation, testing and treatment, which removes a deterrent for some individuals to seek care.

Enhancing Long-Term Outcomes for Incarcerated Individuals

Beyond the pandemic, Centene is also expanding its partnerships with the Concordance Academy and other charitable agencies whose mission is to reduce recidivism, with new programs focused on addressing the broader social determinants that are critical to individuals' outlook both during and following their time in prison.

"There are many non-medical factors that contribute to health, social and economic outcomes of individuals who have been incarcerated," said Centurion Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John May. Dr. May is an international advocate for incarcerated populations, co-founder of the nonprofit Health through Walls, and advisor to the Justice and Corrections Service of UN Peace Operations regarding COVID-19 operations.  "The pandemic has highlighted the need for accelerated innovation to better serve incarcerated populations. If we are to make meaningful progress on reducing incarceration and recidivism rates in this country, we must be willing to take a more holistic and aggressive approach to addressing the broader social determinants of health of this population." 

Today the company is committing to pilot programs at facilities in three states with tablets that will connect incarcerated individuals to Centurion health professionals on demand and educate themselves on topics like nutrition, wellness and preventive care.  The program will include video content that focuses on navigating the healthcare system, resilience, and avoiding pitfalls that contribute to substance abuse.  The educational content will help an individual's understanding and ownership of their own wellness and more effectively prepare them for life after release. 

The intent of the programs is to develop a more personal and holistic way to care for incarcerated individuals, which addresses the population's specific needs regarding medical care, mental well-being and education. This framework will work to ensure that incarcerated populations are protected during their time in prison and prepared to succeed when they re-enter society.

About Centene Corporation

Centene Corporation, a Fortune 100 company, is a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise that is committed to helping people live healthier lives. The company takes a local approach – with local brands and local teams - to provide fully integrated, high-quality, and cost-effective services to government-sponsored and commercial healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. Centene offers affordable and high-quality products to nearly 1 in 15 individuals across the nation, including Medicaid and Medicare members (including Medicare Prescription Drug Plans) as well as individuals and families served by the Health Insurance Marketplace, the TRICARE program, and individuals in correctional facilities. The Company also serves several international markets, and contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide a variety of specialty services focused on treating the whole person. Centene focuses on long-term growth and the development of its people, systems and capabilities so that it can better serve its members, providers, local communities, and government partners.

Centene uses its investor relations website to publish important information about the company, including information that may be deemed material to investors. Financial and other information about Centene is routinely posted and is accessible on Centene's investor relations website, http://www.centene.com/investors.

Forward-Looking Statements

All statements, other than statements of current or historical fact, contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. Without limiting the foregoing, forward-looking statements often use words such as "believe," "anticipate," "plan," "expect," "estimate," "intend," "seek," "target," "goal," "may," "will," "would," "could," "should," "can," "continue" and other similar words or expressions (and the negative thereof). Centene (the Company, our, or we) intends such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe-harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and we are including this statement for purposes of complying with these safe-harbor provisions. In particular, these statements include, without limitation, statements about our future operating or financial performance, market opportunity, growth strategy, competition, expected activities in completed and future acquisitions, including statements about the impact of our recently completed acquisition (the WellCare Acquisition) of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (WellCare), other recent and future acquisitions, investments and the adequacy of our available cash resources.  These forward-looking statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on numerous assumptions and assessments made by us in light of our experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, business strategies, operating environments, future developments and other factors we believe appropriate. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are subject to change because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future, including economic, regulatory, competitive and other factors that may cause our or our industry's actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based on information available to us on the date hereof. Except as may be otherwise required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements included in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date hereof. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, as actual results may differ materially from projections, estimates, or other forward-looking statements due to a variety of important factors, variables and events including but not limited to: the impact of COVID-19 on global markets, economic conditions and the healthcare industry and our results of operations, which is unknown, uncertainty as to our expected financial performance following completion and integration of the WellCare Acquisition; the possibility that the expected synergies and value creation from the WellCare Acquisition will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the risk that unexpected costs will be incurred in connection with the integration of the WellCare Acquisition or that the integration of WellCare will be more difficult or time consuming than expected; unexpected costs, charges or expenses resulting from the WellCare Acquisition; the inability to retain key personnel; disruption from the completion of the WellCare Acquisition, including potential adverse reactions or changes to business relationships with customers, employees, suppliers or regulators, making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; the risk that we may not be able to effectively manage our expanded operations; our ability to accurately predict and effectively manage health benefits and other operating expenses and reserves; competition; membership and revenue declines or unexpected trends; changes in healthcare practices, new technologies, and advances in medicine; increased healthcare costs; changes in economic, political or market conditions; changes in federal or state laws or regulations, including changes with respect to income tax reform or government healthcare programs as well as changes with respect to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, collectively referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and any regulations enacted thereunder that may result from changing political conditions or judicial actions, including the ultimate outcome in "Texas v. United States of America" regarding the constitutionality of the ACA; rate cuts or other payment reductions or delays by governmental payors and other risks and uncertainties affecting our government businesses; our ability to adequately price products on the Health Insurance Marketplaces and other commercial and Medicare products; tax matters; disasters or major epidemics; the outcome of legal and regulatory proceedings; changes in expected contract start dates; provider, state, federal and other contract changes and timing of regulatory approval of contracts; the expiration, suspension, or termination of our contracts with federal or state governments (including but not limited to Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE or other customers); the difficulty of predicting the timing or outcome of pending or future litigation or government investigations; challenges to our contract awards;  cyber-attacks or other privacy or data security incidents; the possibility that the expected synergies and value creation from acquired businesses, including businesses we may acquire in the future, will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the exertion of management's time and our resources, and other expenses incurred and business changes required in connection with complying with the undertakings in connection with any regulatory, governmental or third party consents or approvals for acquisitions; disruption caused by significant completed and pending acquisitions, including, among others, the WellCare Acquisition, making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; the risk that unexpected costs will be incurred in connection with the completion and/or integration of acquisition transactions; changes in expected closing dates, estimated purchase price and accretion for acquisitions; the risk that acquired businesses will not be integrated successfully; the risk that we may not be able to effectively manage our operations as they have expanded as a result of the WellCare Acquisition; restrictions and limitations in connection with our indebtedness; our ability to maintain or achieve improvement in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Star ratings and maintain or achieve improvement in other quality scores in each case that can impact revenue and future growth; availability of debt and equity financing, on terms that are favorable to us; inflation; foreign currency fluctuations; and risks and uncertainties discussed in the reports that Centene has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This list of important factors is not intended to be exhaustive. We discuss certain of these matters more fully, as well as certain other factors that may affect our business operations, financial condition and results of operations, in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. Due to these important factors and risks, we cannot give assurances with respect to our future performance, including without limitation our ability to maintain adequate premium levels or our ability to control our future medical and selling, general and administrative costs.


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SOURCE Centene Corporation