How Direct Contracting Initiatives Can Help Bring CBOs Into VBC Networks

March 08, 2022 1 min read

It was clear even in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic that the coronavirus was disproportionately impacting vulnerable populations, leading to higher hospitalization and death rates among Black and Hispanic Americans. While COVID-19 itself was a sudden and deadly global health crisis, the pandemic also exposed and exacerbated systemic health equity issues that have long plagued underserved communities.

Providers, payers, community advocates, and the public health sector increasingly recognize that implementing value-based care (VBC) will be difficult without also addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the healthcare ecosystem. Unlike traditional fee-for-service healthcare, VBC is about proactively keeping people healthy rather than engaging in reactive and more costly “sick care.” This requires a “whole-person” approach that leverages social determinants of health (SDoH) to develop individualized care plans and inform population health strategies.

SDoH include environmental and social factors such as employment status, income level, education level, housing security, physical activity, neighborhood safety, and access to healthy foods. Research shows SDoH have as much as an 80% impact on the health of an individual or population. Additionally, studies have confirmed a link between SDoH-related risk factors and chronic diseases (such as hypertension and diabetes), which together account for 90% of healthcare spending in the U.S.

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