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TimeBank by Healthfirst Foundation Takes Aim at Loneliness Epidemic

Scalable Technology Platform Builds Community Through Time and Services Exchange

NEW YORK, June 13, 2024--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TimeBank by Healthfirst Foundation, a free program that facilitates the exchange of time, skills and services among volunteer participants and organizations, is unveiling their new technology platform and encouraging volunteerism as one of the best and most rewarding ways to combat social isolation. While the origins of time-based exchanges go back to the 1800s, this initiative is scalable and designed to meet the needs of community members—from young adults to seniors—throughout New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Sullivan, Orange and Rockland counties. The program today serves more than 2,500 participants and over 100 organizations.

"In a May 2023 published report, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy named social connection as the best medicine to combat the profound consequences of loneliness and isolation on individual and collective health and well-being," said Errol Pierre, Healthfirst Foundation Board Member who oversees the company’s TimeBank initiative. "TimeBank by Healthfirst Foundation stimulates a community-wide cycle of action, learning, gathering, and projects, that reduce social isolation, and builds mutual support."

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How Time Banking Works

TimeBank differs from traditional volunteering because it is a reciprocal model. TimeBank participants earn credits for the hours they dedicate to working with other TimeBank community members and then spend those credits in return for services from other community members. For example, they can take classes from other members, learning new skills such as a language, technology skill or how to crochet. One hour equals one credit—regardless of the service a participant gives. No money is exchanged, only time.

TimeBank by Healthfirst Foundation takes the opportunity to build community further by also allowing its members to participate in dozens of free online and in-person learning and community activities. More than 100 organizational members including neighborhood centers, houses of worship, soup kitchens, and healthcare organizations, among others, support onsite programs, volunteering and online participation. This programming is now enabled by a new technology platform, developed specifically for banking time, registering participants and sharing event content.

"We believe our new technology platform is the first of its kind to support time banking – in terms of its architecture and scalability," continued Pierre. "Our efforts to connect volunteers with their community will help combat isolation and loneliness and ultimately create opportunities to address social determinants of health equity."

To learn more about TimeBank by Healthfirst Foundation and become a member, call 1-844-371-6870 or visit hftimebank.org

About Healthfirst Foundation

The Healthfirst Foundation aims to build a healthier future for people in New York City and its surrounding areas by supporting access to health and social services, advancing the provision of culturally competent care by providers and community-based organizations, and addressing social determinants which are barriers to optimal health outcomes. A focus on community and learning guides the programs and initiatives that the Healthfirst Foundation supports in service to its mission and vision.

About Healthfirst

Healthfirst, one of New York’s largest not-for-profit health insurance companies, has earned the trust of close to 2 million members by ensuring access to affordable and high-quality healthcare. Sponsored by downstate New York’s leading hospital systems, Healthfirst’s unique advantage is rooted in its mission to put members first by partnering closely with its broad network of providers on shared goals. Healthfirst is also a pioneer of the value-based care model, now recognized as a national best practice. For more than 30 years, Healthfirst has worked with its network of hospital systems, community providers, and partners to improve health outcomes and advance health equity through better access to care—especially in underserved communities adversely impacted by disease, health disparities, and socioeconomic barriers to optimal health. Healthfirst has built its reputation in the community for top-quality products and services New Yorkers can depend on. It offers market-leading products to fit every life stage, including Medicaid plans, Medicare Advantage plans, Long-Term Care plans, Qualified Health plans, and Essential Plans. Healthfirst serves members in New York City and on Long Island, as well as in Westchester, Rockland, Sullivan, and Orange counties. For more information on Healthfirst, please visit healthfirst.org.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240613654892/en/

Contacts

Media:
Maria J. Ramirez
MaRamirez@healthfirst.org
(212) 801-1552