Pandemic Reveals Need for New Models that Coordinate Physical Health and Mental Health Care and Social Services for Families with Young Children
NEW YORK, NY—July 22, 2021—To spotlight the importance of meeting the physical, mental health, and social service needs of families with young children, United Hospital Fund (UHF) today issued a report profiling five innovative service providers in New York, New Hampshire, and Michigan that have embraced the emerging Integrated Family Care model. The report examines both their successes and challenges.
Integrated Family Care aims to address the physical, behavioral, and social needs of families with young children who face significant adversity caused by such social determinants of health as structural racism, poverty, food scarcity, exposure to violence, and inadequate housing—all of which can cause poor health outcomes throughout a child’s life. Providers that adopt the model work to coordinate medical care, behavioral health care, and social services, with the goal of promoting long-term family and child well-being,
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for new care models, testing primary care and community-based providers in unprecedented ways. Not only did the pandemic exacerbate family poverty—with the greatest impact on families of color—it has been financially ruinous for some child and family-serving community organizations and traumatic to frontline health care providers.
“The pandemic illuminated the many ways in which our siloed systems of care do not meet the needs of too many families, especially when faced with a national disaster,” said report co-author Chad Shearer, UHF’s senior vice president for policy and program. “Now is the perfect moment to consider how Integrated Family Care can help address the ongoing needs of those families disparately affected by the crisis.”
The report, Profiles in Integrated Family Care, features five providers that work in very different settings, but all are actively implementing elements of the “Integrated Family Care” rubric:
• Strong Children Wellness Medical Group, launched in April 2020 in Jamaica, Queens
• Starfish Family Services, a nonprofit human services organization in Inkster, Michigan
• Dartmouth-Hitchcock, a private academic medical center in Hanover, New Hampshire that supports community-based pediatric sites across the state
• NYC Health+Hospitals, that nation’s largest public health care system, with a pediatric network that cares for children in all five New York City boroughs
• AsOne Healthcare IPA, a NYC-area network of health and social services providers
Each organization’s model is unique to its circumstances, but all are leveraging their relationships with families to provide consistent, coordinated care, and engaging families in shared decision-making.
“The Integrated Family Care model may not be a panacea for solving the many challenges facing our health care system, but it does present a possible future direction,” said UHF president Anthony Shih, MD. “This report helps us to understand what these concepts mean when actually put into practice, for payers, for providers, and for families.”
Along with Mr. Shearer, Profiles in Integrated Family Care was co-authored by UHF research analyst Sarah Scaffidi, UHF senior fellow Lee Partridge, and Suzanne Brundage, formerly director of UHF’s Children’s Health Initiative, and published with the support of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under a cooperative agreement with ChangeLab Solutions. The report can be downloaded from UHF’s website here.
About United Hospital Fund
United Hospital Fund works to build an effective and equitable health care system for every New Yorker. An independent, nonprofit organization, we are a force for improvement, analyzing public policy to inform decision-makers, finding common ground among diverse stakeholders, and developing and supporting innovative programs that improve health and health care. We work to dismantle barriers in health policy and health care delivery that prevent equitable opportunities for health. For more on our initiatives and programs please visit our website at www.uhfnyc.org and follow us on Twitter.