Food, clothing, shelter, work, relationships and community engagement.
Everyone is talking about these “social determinants of health” but neither the moniker, nor the subject matter is new. What IS new is the growing evidence that these aspects of an individual’s life account for the majority of their health status – 60 to 80% as compared to the 20-40% that can be accounted for by their physical health history and genetics. As a result of research contributing to this body of understanding, states are including requirements to address social influencers in the design of local managed care approaches.
Anthem welcomes this for several reasons. We can be creative. We can engage with community-based partners because they have the on-the-ground knowledge of their communities and the relevant resources and gaps. People will have more positive healthcare outcomes if we can work together to augment their access to healthy food, ensure stability in their housing, connect them to employment and support them to maintain relationships with their families and friends. The Arc’s state and local affiliates are important partners and a source of information on the needs and resources of communities and also of innovations and projects that we might build upon.
Anthem has incorporated information from advocates and families in our offerings such as extending respite and caregiver resources, providing transportation to employment or education, enhancing access to farmer’s markets, and making home repairs to increase accessibility. Sharing of knowledge and opportunities is also not rocket science – it’s good practice and builds community!