As the healthcare industry moves quickly toward value-based care, community-based organizations (CBOs) are taking on a more central role in the delivery of services to address the social determinants of health (SDoHs).
Many commercial health plans are looking to CBOs to become true partners in the provision of comprehensive, preventive care to individuals facing challenging circumstances at home and in their communities, says Manik Bhat, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Healthify.
“There has been a surging interest in cross-sector partnerships, specifically between health plans and social service organizations,” he stated. “Our work at Healthify is about working closely with our partners on the ground and in government to help the industry create the infrastructure necessary to help individuals overcome their challenges and see better outcomes for themselves and their families.”
Commercial health plans are pursuing these partnerships in a number of ways. In addition to working through Medicaid managed care organizations, Medicare accountable care organizations, and other value-based contracts for their commercial members, plans are engaging directly with CBOs to address SDoH issues.
Fourteen percent of payer and provider organizations responding to a February 2020 survey by Change Healthcare reported coordinating closely with CBOs to provide SDoH support services, compared to just 10 percent in 2019. Major commercial payers have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in CBO partnerships and new programming to expand access to education, preventive care resources, and SDoH services that are tied to lower overall spending on clinical care needs.
These projects range from building or purchasing affordable housing units and developing non-emergency transportation options to offering healthy cooking classes to those experiencing nutritional concerns. These initiatives, along with grants and other philanthropic efforts, provide numerous opportunities for CBOs to meet rising demands on their resources.
“We want to ensure that individuals and families are in the driver's seat on their journey to better health outcomes,” Bhat stated. “But first, we have to work together to build the roads to drive on. Our goal is to create people-centered connections to make sure that individuals, health systems, community organizations, and health plans are having those conversations and making progress toward the ultimate shared goals of better health, better outcomes, and better quality of life for all.”
Learn more about how commercial health plans are working alongside Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid to extend SDoH services to as many individuals as possible in our latest resource Funding Community-Based Efforts to Address the Social Determinants of Health.