It is increasingly clear that the social and economic conditions in which people live, work, and play have a major impact on an individual's lifelong health and well-being. Such social determinants as access to nutritious food, safe neighborhoods, stable housing, jobs, and good schools, are responsible for some 40 percent of health outcomes. But to address the factors outside the clinic walls that impact health, health care providers often need social services partners—not always a natural fit.
United Hospital Fund is focused on helping to facilitate these partnerships. A report just published by the Human Services Council of New York, Integrating Health and Human Services: A Blueprint for Partnership and Action, dovetails with UHF's mission. It was produced by the Commission on Value-Based Care, a diverse group of health and human services experts, including UHF President Anthony Shih MD, MP, convened by HSC to identify opportunities and roadblocks for community-based organizations (CBOs) to partner with health care providers.
Panelists Anthony Shih, MD, UHF; La Ray Brown, One Brooklyn; Denard Cummings, NYSDOH; Margaret Crotty, Partnership with Children; Allison Sesso, Human Services Council
Dr. Shih chaired a meeting and panel at UHF on April 17 to introduce and discuss the report and its implications, attended by more than 70 human services, health, advocacy, and government stakeholders.
HSC executive Director Allison Sesso told attendees that the successful integration of health and human services in New York State requires a change in perspective by both the health and CBO sectors, HSC executive Director Allison Sesso told the attendees. Yet “health and human services are like strangers living next door, working in close proximity but unaware of the details of each other's lives.”
The report laid out seven overarching recommendations to remedy this disconnect:
Bridge the technology divide
Undertake a comprehensive review and overhaul of regulatory requirements
Make investments and build systems that support stronger and more informed relationships between the health care system and human services CBOs
Provide greater and more targeted support for establishing provider networks
Address contractual barriers to value-based payment participation
Ensure that measures of social determinants of health interventions are not overly clinical
Shift risk incrementally and commensurate with service level
The recommendations, and the challenges in meeting them, were discussed by panel members La Ray Brown, president of Interfaith Medical Center and chief executive officer of One Brooklyn Health System Inc; Denard Cummings, director of the Bureau of Social Determinants of Health at New York State Department of Health; Margaret Crotty, executive director of Partnership with Children; and Allison Sesso.
Allison Sesso,executive director, Human Services Council
The panelists emphasized that human services partnerships are vital to the health sector as it moves to value-based payments that reward patient outcomes rather than the volume of services delivered. But such partnerships are not a replacement for adequate funding of social services. Capacity building through capital investment in the human services sector is required to deliver on the promise of these partnerships
The full report can be downloaded here.