A growing body of literature continues to validate the importance of addressing the social and structural determinants of health to improve health outcomes, and promote opportunity and economic mobility. Affordable, service-enriched housing plays a vital role in this work, with a growing momentum to collaborate across the health and housing sectors through lessons learned from research and demonstration projects across the nation.
Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) members are experienced nonprofit housing providers that have collaborated with healthcare stakeholders for many years. However, few have had direct partnerships with insurers. Beginning in 2014, SAHF engaged its members in efforts to “match-make” business relationships with Medicaid payers to implement joint initiatives that would demonstrate and assess the contributions of service-enriched housing to the healthcare system.
SAHF, in partnership with Health Management Associates (HMA), and with support from the Kresge Foundation, is excited to release its report, The Path to Partnership: Lessons Learned in the Pursuit of Joint Initiatives between Affordable Housing Providers and Medicaid Managed Care Programs. SAHF members who participated in this matchmaking activity included Mercy Housing, Volunteers of America (VOA) and National Church Residences. They worked with HMA on market scans, and HMA initiated outreach to potential health plan partners, which resulted in joint initiatives in Atlanta, Denver and Pittsburgh.
Dr. Kamillah Wood, SAHF’s Senior Vice President for Health and Housing, stated, “Cross-sector engagement is a critical component of addressing the social determinants of health.” She added, “This report shows SAHF’s commitment to innovative solutions that improve the health of vulnerable populations, and we hope that the lessons learned from this great work will be invaluable to other public health, housing and healthcare stakeholders.”
The report identifies the following lessons learned from the efforts to date:
- Joint initiatives must address the problem of scale;
- Housing providers must be willing to adapt services to meet the requirements of the healthcare system;
- Housing providers must present a business case to potential health plan partners that includes primary and secondary benefits;
- HIPAA compliance needs to be addressed as a potential barrier; and
- Healthcare partners and Housing providers need to be realistic about joint initiative resource requirements.
SAHF and its members are committed to continuing and building on this initiative to improve the health and opportunity outcomes of rental housing residents across the nation.