Addressing Social Determinants of Health to Improve Outcomes.

Author:Douglass, Mark
Position:From our partners

The Segen's Medical Dictionary defines Social Determinants of Health as "A generic term for the social factors which affect the health of an individual--e.g., housing, employment, income, education, family coherency, etc." Per the World Health Organization: "The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities--the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries." Recognizing these determinants is integral to developing health and human services initiatives and interventions.

When the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) established the Wellness, Comprehensive Assessment, Rehabilitation, and Employment (WeCARE) program in 2004, and as it evolved over time, the goal to assist clients with health/mental health conditions or substance misuse reach the highest attainable level of well-being, the need to address social determinants as a key component of this process was recognized. By providing comprehensive, integrated, and individualized clinical and support services, the model addresses the full spectrum of social determinants. Providers work with other components of HRA, and with other governmental and nongovernmental service providers, to create new programs or integrate and refine existing services so clients may achieve their maximum functional capacity.

In 2017, the HRA reviewed outcomes for their model over time and had refined the approach to more fully integrate the goal of positive health outcomes for clients with the social determinants affecting health. The HRA selected BrightSpring Health Services as a service partner for WeCARE in Manhattan, Staten Island, and Brooklyn and has been actively engaged in delivering services under this model since early 2019. As the leading provider of comprehensive home- and community-based health services to complex populations in need of specialized care, BrightSpring has a unique mission in the health care field--to make a difference in the lives of people and communities. With lines of business that cover the spectrum from pharmacy to direct care to workforce development, BrightSpring was uniquely positioned to partner with the HRA for operation of WeCARE.

ResCare Workforce Services (RWS), a division of BrightSpring Health Services, assists clients receiving cash assistance who have medical, mental health, or other psychosocial barriers to employment. Serving more than 25,000 WeCARE clients each year in Manhattan, Staten...

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