As we discussed in our 2019 edition of 10 Issues to Watch, health care systems and payers are increasing their attention on and investment in addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) – conditions like income, employment, education, housing, safety, transportation options, and others that influence individual and population health. In a recent piece, PatientEngagementHIT writer Sara Heath highlights a few promising strategies, which we’ve summarized here:
- Food security. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute (BCBS Institute) is partnering with the Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) and foodQ, a food delivery service, to connect people in Dallas and Chicago food deserts with nutritious food for $10 per month. The program will be open to people in certain zip codes regardless of insurance status or carrier.
- Affordable housing. Kaiser Permanente is working with Bay Area organizations Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) and East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) to create sustainable and affordable local housing options. Kaiser Permanente and Enterprise invested in a 41-unit housing complex, which EBALDC is managing. Additionally, Kaiser and Enterprise each promised matching $50 million donations to create a national loan fund for affordable housing in Kaiser’s care areas, including eight states and Washington, D.C.
- The BCBS Institute used zip code data to target patients living in transportation deserts and partnered with Lyft to secure rides. Rideshare companies like Lyft, which have also created partnerships with hospitals, physician offices, and other healthcare organizations, have made a dent in medical transportation. (In February, the company announced an expanded effort with BCBS Institute to provide rides to Medicare Advantage members.)
Whether we are pushing for access to quality early childhood education in Louisiana, working to enhance healthy community in South Carolina, or helping Enterprise Community Partners advocate for policies that protect access to affordable housing, Advocacy & Communication Solutions sees our work as inherently supporting individuals achieve health and well-being. We’re excited to continue working with our diverse and passionate partners to move the dial on social determinants of health.