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Insights

500 Cities Project: Only Two Miles Away, Yet Miles Apart

Baltimore, like many cities across the country, is experiencing growing pains. With a relatively affluent metropolitan area and an abundance of high-paying jobs, the city is booming. But as wealth infiltrates some neighborhoods, others are being left behind. As a result, the city is experiencing significant gaps in both the wealth and health of its residents.

Take, for instance, two Baltimore neighborhoods, Federal Hill, located south of downtown, and Cherry Hill, one of the southernmost neighborhoods of the city. Approximately two miles apart, the two neighborhoods could not be more disparate when it comes to health. 

Topics: Community Resources Low income housing Coordinate Care coordination 500 cities project Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

All by Myself: The Health Effects of Loneliness

Loneliness has evolved from a favorite topic of angsty teens to a serious public health crisis. Long thought of as a temporary state of mind, loneliness--broadly defined as “the distress people feel when reality fails to meet their ideal of social relationships”--now outstrips obesity as a predictor of early death.

Topics: Healthify Social Determinants of Health Community Resources Mental Health Community Based Organizations Coordinate Care coordination

Bringing Coordinated Care to Rural Communities

In the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, in the southeast corner of Kentucky sits a once-booming coal center. Today, Letcher County, home to 25,000 residents, is distressed; the community faces high poverty rates and poor health.

The story of Letcher County is all too familiar across rural America. About one out of five Americans, 60 million in total, live in places like Letcher County. Rural America has been hit hard in recent years. For half a century, coal mining and other industrial sectors drove the rural economy, and as a result these regions contributed greatly to our country’s overall economic health.

Topics: Community Resources low income Community Based Organizations Coordinate Care Vulnerable populations rural care

A Smart(phone) Solution: Connected Care for Homeless

 The U.S. is home to more than 230 million smartphones. Every population, young and old, rich and poor, now are among the many users. Not surprisingly, smartphones have become a vital tool in helping the nation’s most vulnerable population. For the homeless, a mobile phone can be a lifeline to a spectrum of services, timely information and a connection to their community. For healthcare professionals seeking to improve outcomes, smartphones make coordinated care a reality. 

Topics: low income Coordinate Care Vulnerable populations Homeless Healthcare

The Price of Fitness: Combating Obesity in Low-Income Populations

Like clockwork, the ball drops in Times Square on New Years’ Eve, and millions of Americans resolve to lose weight. They say, “This time, I’m motivated.” But, for many low-income Americans, it is not a lack of drive that keeps them from losing weight, but a lack of affordability and accessibility.

Topics: Healthify Community Based Organizations ACA obesity fitness

Does Money Matter? It Does for Your Health.

“Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference.” 

—Former President Barack Obama

Wealth influences your education, your environment, and most of all your health.

In the U.S., life expectancy is tied to income, and wealthier Americans have an advantage. The wealthier live longer than low-income counterparts. Because of social circumstances, low-income Americans experience more stress, mental illness, violence, and obesity, among other burdens. Many low-income individuals also struggle to afford medication, lack awareness on where or when to seek care, and do not have the same access to treat and prevent their health issues.

Topics: Healthify low income Vulnerable populations ACA Healthcare

Providing End-of-Life Palliative Care for the Homeless

A significant gap in the health care system for one of the most vulnerable patient populations may be slowly closing. Thanks to innovative new programs, increased numbers of homeless men and women fighting fatal illnesses and chronic conditions are receiving the palliative and respite care they so desperately need. 

With many seriously ill homeless patients seeking care only when in dire need, these vital programs work to improve quality of life, preserve the dignity of the patients, and help to better utilize already stretched health care resources.

Topics: Healthify Social Determinants of Health Coordinate Care Vulnerable populations Homeless Palliative care

Caring For Our Most Costly Patients - Dual Eligibles

Dennis Heaphy, a Boston resident and 30-year quadriplegic, received new health care coverage in 2014. As part of initiatives ushered in with the Accountable Care Act, Heaphy, a low-income disabled individual, was able to stay home and in his community. This was a drastic change from the alternative he was all too familiar with—frequent visits to the hospital and long-term stays at skilled nursing facilities. Heaphy is enrolled in a pilot program aimed at providing better care for our most costly and complex patients—“dual eligibles.”

Topics: Medicaid ACA Medicare Dual Eligibles Healthcare

The Role of Community-Based Organizations in Supporting Value-Based Care

In the transition to value-based care, providers today are being asked to do something they are not use to—caring for patients outside of the clinical setting. With incentives aligned on reducing utilization and decreasing re admissions, providers must now focus on prevention and wellness, in addition to delivering quality acute care.

This task, however, of managing population health is easier said than done. Given the many social circumstances that impact an individual’s care, it is often difficult to ensure positive outcomes after discharge.  Without active monitoring, providers can’t always guarantee patients follow the recommend care plan. And they can’t always verify that patients are being discharged to a place with suitable conditions for recovery.

Topics: Community Based Organizations Coordinate Care Value Based Care

Convenient Healthcare: Meet People Where They Are

With the rise of consumerism among patients in healthcare, many providers are expanding operations to improve patient satisfaction. But for many vulnerable populations, convenient healthcare is not a commodity—it’s a necessity.

Topics: Healthcare Delivery Health Disparities