New National Group Seeks to Promote Cross-Sector Solutions to Health

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 General News
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Supports Allowing Communities to Pursue Demonstrations that Test Whether the Enhanced Alignment of Social and Health Care Programs Can Improve Wellbeing and Reduce Costs

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of leading healthcare organizations have joined together to form Aligning

for Health (AFH), a coalition seeking to improve health outcomes and lower the cost of care by developing a path forward for coordinated health and human service programs.

Aligning for Health is made up of stakeholders who recognize that health is connected to more than just access to medical services. Studies estimate that social factors such as access to nutritious food, safe housing, and financial security account for nearly 70 percent of all health outcomes, and that addressing social factors can have positive effects on health outcomes, healthcare costs and utilization.

Important safety-net programs meant to promote well-being are often fragmented, hindering holistic and innovative approaches to addressing consumers' needs, and resulting in complex consumer experiences.

Through a combination of research, direct advocacy, coalition building, and media outreach, AFH seeks to energize stakeholders and policymakers around the need to test the impact of greater integration at the local level, specifically whether it leads to more effective leveraging of federal poverty and healthcare programs to improve well-being and to lower cost of care.

Our primary goal is to develop a consensus-based, bipartisan policy proposal that will allow communities to apply for demonstration programs that permit, with guardrails, the blending and braiding of funds to address social determinants of health.

Aligning for Health has also launched a website,, where we have compiled a number of resources and examples of current innovative efforts to better coordinate and integrate health and human service programs to address social determinants.

AFH members include Alliance for Better Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, CareSource, Humana, Maxim Healthcare Services, Solera Health, UPMC Health Plan, WellCare.

"As a nonprofit health care company, CareSource has long been committed to helping our members achieve self-sufficiency," said Karin VanZant, Vice President, Life Services at CareSource. "We are proud to be a member of Aligning for Health and to work with the organization to develop policy that effectively addresses the social determinants of health."

"It's difficult to prioritize your health when you don't have access to healthy food, safe housing or transportation to and from medical appointments," said Rhonda Mims, SVP and Chief Public Affairs Officer, WellCare. "Addressing the social determinants of health that limit access to affordable, quality healthcare require will collaboration from all stakeholders."

"Every day, Americans find themselves without access to healthy foods and safe housing, which leads to significant health risks," said Kim Holland, vice president, state affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. "That's why we're proud to work with Aligning for Health to enact real change that will improve the overall well-being and health of our citizens.

"During my tenure as Colorado's Medicaid director, I was struck by the complex interdependence between poverty and health status," said Sandeep Wadhwa, MD, chief health officer of Solera Health. "I support this effort to link complementary initiatives to measurably improve health and self-sufficiency." 

"For many years, UPMC Health Plan has worked to address the factors outside of health care that have such a huge impact on the overall well-being of those we serve," said John Lovelace, president of government programs at UPMC Health Plan.  We look forward to collaborating with colleagues to achieve an even greater impact, one that resonates with our mission and the people we serve."

"At Maxim Healthcare Services, we are prioritizing community-based care solutions for our patients and clients.  Membership in the Aligning for Health group was a perfect complement to the work we were already doing." -Andy Friedell, Senior Vice President of Strategic Solutions & Government Affairs


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SOURCE Aligning for Health

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