Healthcare’s traditional payment structures are rapidly shifting from fee-for-service models, in which providers are paid for delivering separate episodes of care, to value-based payment (VBP) models, in which providers are incentivized to move the needle on key health outcomes for their patients. With this new expectation comes increased attention to addressing patients’ non-medical needs such as food, transportation, financial stability, and housing. These health-related social needs, also referred to as Social Determinants of Health, broadly impact the wellbeing of individuals and communities.
In this emerging payment environment, community- based organizations (CBOs) addressing social determinants have new opportunities to access healthcare dollars – if they can demonstrate the financial savings and health impacts of their work. Rural CBOs face particular challenges in this effort:
- limited staff capacity, which is a barrier to having a seat at the table in these discussions
- lack of economies of scale in service delivery – lower population density means it takes more time and expense to reach clients
- limited step-by-step guidance on how CBOs can take advantage of VBP contracts
With funding from the NYS Health Foundation and Care Compass Network, Rural Health Network of SCNY is embarking on a two-year initiative to overcome these challenges and improve measurement of Social Determinants of Health. Activities include assessing current measurement designs, testing new return-on-investment calculations, and providing support to small and rural CBOs as they navigate the value-based payment environment.
Look for quarterly updates on progress and learnings from this project in the NYSARH newsletter and website.
By Emma Nalin
Social Determinants of Health
Rural Health Network of SCNY
455 Court Street
Binghamton, NY 13904