14 hospitals and health systems commit $700 million to social determinants
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Senior Manager, Health Research Institute, PwC USNovember 15, 2019
A coalition of 14 hospitals and health systems, including Kaiser Permanente and Rush University Medical Center, is committing $700 million to local investments addressing the social and economic determinants of health, the Healthcare Anchor Network, a group of hospitals focused on community health, announced last week.
In their announcement, the 14 providers said they were working on financing for affordable housing development, child care centers, federally qualified health centers, and minority- and women-owned businesses. One Boston-based health system committed money to support the construction of a neighborhood supermarket to help create local jobs and widen access to nutritious food.
Rush University Medical Center CEO Omar Lateef, in the group’s statement, pointed to decades of disinvestment in Chicago’s struggling West Side that has helped widen a gulf between the life expectancy of a person living in these neighborhoods and one living just a few miles away in the city’s glittering downtown. “These death gaps are unnatural, unjust and must be addressed by improving the economic conditions in the neighborhoods we serve, not only the health conditions of the people who live there,” Lateef said in the statement.
HRI impact analysis
The announcement from the health systems speaks to the growing recognition by the healthcare sector that ignoring social determinants of health hinders even the most advanced medical interventions as patients struggle with basics such as access to nutritious food, safe housing and jobs.
A recent HRI report detailed examples where collaborative efforts to target social determinants of health have translated into quantifiable savings and better experiences for consumers and patients. Another HRI report outlined the potential of qualified opportunity funds to help health systems and other stakeholders launch social determinants of health projects aimed at improving the lives of people living in poverty-stricken neighborhoods.
Less than a week before he unexpectedly passed away, Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard Tyson, long a champion of more equitable, accessible and affordable healthcare, spoke to the importance of these efforts and why Kaiser had already committed $200 million: “As a co-founder of the Healthcare Anchor Network, we hope this collective commitment by the 14 health systems will help encourage others to invest alongside us in support of healthier communities and making meaningful progress towards improving the future of health and health care in this country.”