My Public Health Dream Come True?

by Stephanye R. Clarke


Social determinants of health heavily impact health status and outcomes—that’s why it is encouraging to see financial incentives that attempt to address this root problem.

It’s a problem we’ve been talking about for some time. At our spring 2015 Reform to Transform event, Dr. Elizabeth Bradley spoke of the need for financial resources to be in place to enhance social support, to complement clinical care, and as a way to help contain health care costs.

Looks like that idea could be picking up steam in 2016. The Accountable Health Communities (AHC) model introduced by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) intends to bridge the gap between the social and clinical needs in the current care delivery system with $157 million in potential funding.

This article details the potential for funds to do some health and social care coordination in a way that I imagine will have tremendous results if properly executed.

“The model has a specific purpose to address some of the social determinants of health that are costly to the overall system and has big implications for the home health industry, where case management of patients can often include dealing with direct social needs.

The health-related social needs identified by CMS include: housing instability and quality; food insecurity; utility needs; interpersonal violence; and transportation needs beyond medical transportation.”

It is my hope that this potential funding becomes reality—we often hear how combining social and clinical care keep individuals, families and communities healthy. Let’s make this the year we put our money where our mouth is.





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