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Guidewell Innovation Offers $400,000 To Groom Companies Supporting Caregivers

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
GuideWell will provide $400,000 to companies that can offer help to caregivers.

The parent company of health insurer Florida Blue is offering $400,000 to companies that can help caregivers. 

The GuideWell Innovation Challenge aims to groom up to four companies to offer help for adults who are caring for their adult family members. Nationwide, more than 43.5 million adults give unpaid care to their adult family members – and most do that while working.

Kirstie McCool, the executive director GuideWell Innovation, said Guidewell is looking for ideas to help caregivers combat things like financial burnout, work exhaustion, stress, depression and lack of privacy.

“What we’re doing here is looking for innovative approaches that cross the spectrum, with the hope of finding one to four of them that we can really move forward with in the long haul as a potential partner for the company,” McCool said.

Guidewell is the nonprofit parent company of Florida Blue – the state’s largest health insurance company. McCool said insurance companies benefit from healthier communities.

But beyond that, there are a lot of employers in the state that can benefit from programs that support their employee caregivers.

Statistics show 75 percent of caregivers spent 24 hours a week in that role – while they’re working.

“It often impacts their productivity at work, it increases employee turnover, in many cases there are inflexible work policies or lack of relevant benefits,” she said.

Applications are open until November 15.

WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, a statewide collaborative reporting on health care.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.