2024 Expansion Nearly Doubles Network of Community Benefit Organizations Receiving Incentives for Addressing Barriers to Community Health
PITTSBURGH (February 1, 2024) — Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network (AHN) today announced the expansion of their high-performing social care network (HPSCN) pilot, which uniquely incentivizes community benefit organizations (CBOs) for addressing health-related social needs for individuals referred by the health care system.
Highmark Health and AHN launched its HPSCN pilot in July 2022 with 20 CBOs that serve Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.
With today's announcement, the pilot grows to 37 organizations that have the potential to earn incentives for closing barriers to health. These include food insecurity, housing, access to transportation, and more. In the U.S., social factors, or Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) can impact up to 80% of someone’s health.
"To improve the health of communities and reduce the long-term cost of care, we continue to focus on building networks with like-minded partners best positioned to address barriers to health at the source," said Dr. Tony Farah, executive vice president, and chief medical and clinical transformation officer at Highmark Health. "This is an integral step to building our Living Health care model that enables people to be fully healthy physically, mentally, and socially."
Highmark Health's efforts to design the program, build the data infrastructure to measure impact and expand the pilot are supported by a grant provided by the Richard King Mellon Foundation in May 2021 as part of its long-term commitment to health and well-being in the region.
"Breaking down barriers to health is the cornerstone of building healthier communities and transforming health care delivery," said Dr. Amit Kale, vice president of social determinants of health for Highmark Health. "This innovative program weaves health care, health insurance and social care to influence greater health outcomes."
As part of the HPSCN, Highmark Health clinical staff refers individuals to participating CBOs through its Community Support Platform, and follows each journey. Individuals who are referred as part of the pilot are more likely to have their needs met by securing the right resources through CBOs.
Below are recent examples of how individuals have been helped through the HPSCN:
Highmark Health's HPSCN increased the ability of clinicians and social workers to identify a person with social needs, connect them to help, know if they received that help, and provide financial support to community organizations for that work.
This program has been highlighted in multiple national health forums, and provides an important use case as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the White House, and state and local governments work to better coordinate health care, public health, and social services.
"Mon Valley Initiative's Workforce Development and Financial Coaching team works to provide community members with a pathway to sustainable financial stability, " said Charles Howell, director, workforce development and financial coaching at Mon Valley Initiative, one of the participating CBOs. "When good community partners invest in local efforts, positive long-term change is possible. We are proud to partner with Highmark Health to strengthen the network of support that families need to combat structural inadequacies in the area. "
The additional CBOs participating in 2024 are included below:
They join the following CBOs from 2022 pilot launch: Action-Housing Inc., Adagio Health Inc., Allegheny Valley Association of Churches, Cornerstone Care Community Health Centers, Crisis Center North Inc., Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Holy Family Institute, Jewish Family and Community Services, Just Harvest, Mon Valley Initiative, Pittsburgh Community Services Inc., Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Center, Rebuilding Together, Society of St. Vincent de Paul Central Council of Pittsburgh, South Hills Interfaith Movement, Traveler's Aid Society of Pittsburgh, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Inc., Wesley Family Services, Westmoreland Community Action and Westmoreland County Food Bank, Inc.
Individuals facing social needs can visit highmark.findhelp.com/ to find free or reduced-cost services in their community. The site connects individuals to thousands of local organizations and programs to access food, housing, transportation, utility assistance, medical care, job training and more.
Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh, PA-based enterprise that employs more than 37,000 people who serve millions of Americans across the country, is the parent company of Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, and HM Health Solutions. Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates provide health insurance to approximately 6.8 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and New York as well as dental insurance, and related health products through a national network of diversified businesses. Allegheny Health Network is an integrated delivery network comprised of 14 hospitals, more than 2,000 affiliated physicians, ambulatory surgery centers, an employed physician organization, home and community-based health services, a research institute, a group purchasing organization, and health and wellness pavilions in western Pennsylvania. HM Health Solutions is focused on meeting the information technology platform and other business needs of the Highmark Health enterprise as well as unaffiliated health insurance plans by providing proven business processes, expert knowledge, and integrated cloud-based platforms. Lumevity, a wholly owned subsidiary of Highmark Health, helps companies transform in ways that drive direct financial benefits while improving quality and increasing employee engagement. To learn more, visit www.highmarkhealth.org.