Healthify Blog

A Breath of Fresh Air for Smoking Cessation Efforts­­­­

More than 50 years ago, the Surgeon General first reported that cigarette smoking was very bad for our health. At the time, 42% of Americans smoked. Even now that the percentage has dropped dramatically to less than 15%, smoking is still a deadly problem. 

The deleterious effects of smoking are well known, including the increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. Smoking causes 480,000 deaths annually, which is more deaths each year than the following causes combined: HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, and firearm-related incidents. 

Topics: Healthify social determinants of health Medicaid coordinated care

Breathing new life into Asthma treatment

Santana Hudson, a 3-year-old boy from a low-income family in the Midwest, suffers from chronic asthma. The normally active young boy stops like clockwork every four hours to sit down and inhale asthma medication. If a dose is missed, he likely will end up in a trip to the emergency room, which for him, are frequent. Santana lacks a primary care doctor, and like many other children, he is left with one option for treating severe asthma attacks—to call an ambulance.

Asthma impacts roughly one in 12 Americans. It’s so common that its severity is often underestimated. But for some, like Santana, asthma can be so debilitating that it interferes with daily activities and can lead to life-threatening attacks. While asthma affects all ethnic groups and levels of socio-economic status, it disproportionally impacts low-income, minority and inner city populations.

Topics: Healthify social determinants of health low income coordinated care coordination health

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 coordinated 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 coordinated 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 coordinated 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 coordinated care vulnerable populations homeless 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 coordinated care vulnerable populations homeless

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 coordinated care value-based care