The nation’s healthcare system is beginning to shift from a “sick care system” to one that prioritizes health and wellbeing, largely as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the efforts of health-reform advocates—and the inspirational work of health clinics that are deeply rooted in the communities they serve.
There is now a growing understanding that if we want to improve the health of individual patients and entire communities—while also reducing medical costs—we must take action at the community level to address and change the underlying conditions that lead to poor health at the same time that we expand access to quality health services. At Prevention Institute, we call this work community prevention.
Three years ago, we developed a model we call Community-Centered Health Homes. It outlines a new paradigm in which healthcare providers collaborate closely with public health, community members, advocates and organizations in an effort to change local conditions and improve health. Today, some of the best exemplars of this approach are community clinics and health centers around the country that are embedded in their communities.
Prevention Institute wanted to explore how the work of these clinics could be furthered by the principles of Community-Centered Health Homes. So, with the support of the Blue Shield of California Foundation, we visited or interviewed more than a dozen clinics across California. We’ve compiled the results of our research into a new report, “Assessing and Promoting Adoption of the Community-Centered Health Home Model.”
Our report, and the work being done at these clinics, offers some useful lessons that can help guide health-transformation and community prevention efforts. Please share it widely with colleagues and allies and let us know your thoughts and comments.