HARTFORD, CT -- A new report released by the Connecticut Health Foundation aims to help social service organizations and clinical care providers build partnerships to address the many factors that influence people’s health.
The report, Making Community and Clinical Integration Work: A Guide for Moving from Idea to Implementation, reflects the widespread recognition that what matters for good health isn’t just clinical care, but a host of other factors – such as housing, nutrition, transportation, and social support – that shape people’s everyday lives.
There is growing interest among both health care providers and community social service organizations in working together to better serve their shared patients and clients. Yet the systems for delivering clinical care and addressing social needs generally operate separately, making it more difficult to support people’s health in a holistic way.
“We know that clinical care alone can’t solve all our health problems, but there is great promise in bringing together clinical care providers and community-based organizations, which often serve the same people in different aspects of their lives,” said Patricia Baker, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation. “As we seek to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities and improve health for everyone, we must create the environment that helps these partnerships thrive.”
Clinical-community partnerships and integration can take many forms. Examples include:
- Health departments, hospitals, and community organizations working together to address housing quality as a way to improve asthma outcomes for children.
- Hospitals partnering with community agencies to help patients returning home after hospitalization.
- The creation of a shared database used by multiple health and social service agencies to connect people who use one service, such as a food pantry, to other services.
“We have heard from health care providers and community organizations that they are interested in working together to better address people’s health and well-being, but many are unsure how to do it. We hope this report will help organizations move forward,” Baker said.
The report was written by Deborah Zahn and Health Management Associates consultants Melissa Corrado and Josh Rubin, who have done extensive work to support clinical-community integration in Connecticut and other states. It covers topics including how organizations can identify potential partners and begin working together, how to plan for integrating services, and how to put a plan into action.
“The impact that these types of partnerships can have on people’s lives makes the time and effort in developing them well worth it,” Zahn said. “We hope this guide will help both health care providers and community-based organizations feel more confident as they consider moving forward in partnerships.”
The connection between health care providers and community-based organizations is a focus of state policymakers.
“We know from our investments in clinical and community integration that partnerships with community organizations are key to unlocking access to a range of services that can prevent health conditions from occurring and improve health outcomes for residents of Connecticut,” said Vicki Veltri, executive director of the state’s Office of Health Strategy. “Trusted community organizations can fill a void in addressing housing, food and income security, employment and other issues that contribute significantly to health outcomes. The Connecticut Health Foundation’s report will help provide the roadmap to expand these vital partnerships.”
About the Connecticut Health Foundation
The Connecticut Health Foundation is the state’s largest independent health philanthropy dedicated to improving health outcomes for people of color. Since its creation in 1999, the foundation has awarded more than $63 million to nonprofit organizations and public entities to expand health equity, reduce health disparities, expand health coverage, and improve the health of all Connecticut residents.
Arielle Levin Becker
Director of Communications
Connecticut Health Foundation
860-724-1580 x 16