Video: Putting a business model around the social determinants of health


Eli Kirshbaum


Most of the health care community acknowledges social determinants of health (SDOH) and the role they play in health outcomes. But how can organizations adopt a plan to address factors like housing, food insecurity, and family life in a financially sustainable way?

In this video from our 2021 North Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference last week, hear about ways to approach this issue from Janice Fagen, senior strategic advisor at Sellers Dorsey, Heather Beal, DSRIP & community health manager at Wise Health System, and Theresa Brown, MD, chief regional medical officer at CareMore Health.


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Beal, saying 80% of an individual’s health has nothing to do with the actual health care they receive, said a key piece of Wise Health’s SDOH work is having engaged community partners. This can include non-profits, local government entities, or education groups.

“We are all about our community. If you’ve ever lived in, been in, spent time in a rural community … It is a very close-knit family, and that is no different for Decatur and Wise Health System. So we are very involved in, very appreciative of, and very interactive with our community.”

Brown explained that closing equity gaps can be financially beneficial for Medicaid managed care and Medicare Advantage plans. Increasing community engagement among these populations, therefore, should be a priority.

“Closure of gaps has financial weight for them. Engagement, historically, for Medicaid patients, can be low. So engagement is always a discussion when you’re talking about that population and how you’re going to get your engagement rates higher, so once you get in front of them, you actually can help them.”

Fagen emphasized the importance of donations to community-based organizations, as these groups often work with limited resources, which she said is a “big concern.”

“We have to be cognizant that these community-based organizations have limits. They have staffing issues just like everyone else …”