This five-part series of issue briefs describes MassHealth’s impact on the health and finances of its members, families, and communities, as well as on the wide variety of stakeholders and sectors outside of the traditional health care realm that benefit from the program, including:
Social Equity and Health
The Preventive Effect of Housing First on Health Care Utilization and Costs Among Chronically Homeless Individuals
Housing First programs offer chronically homeless individuals immediate housing as a foundation for the delivery of a range of other supportive services, such as mental health and/or substance use disorder services and social service supports.
How are Massachusetts Community-Based Organizations Responding to the Health Care Sector’s Entry into Social Determinants of Health?
In Massachusetts, MassHealth is implementing a number of reforms as part of its most recent Medicaid 1115 demonstration waiver extension to transform the delivery of care for most members and address the social determinants of health (SDOH). In light of the new interface between health care and social service delivery fostered by the MassHealth program redesign, it is important to understand how community-based organizations (CBOs) perceive the entry of health care organizations into their domains of social service delivery.
This guidebook is designed to help health care administrators and providers better understand the types of social services available in Massachusetts, the organizations that provide such services, and their key sources of funding. This resource is intended to facilitate greater coordination between these organization types, and especially with MassHealth ACOs as they seek to integrate, better coordinate with social services, improve health outcomes, and reduce health care costs.
Partnerships for Health: Lessons for Bridging Community-Based Organizations and Health Care Organizations
Given the impact that social factors have on health status and expenditures, and the shift toward value-based payment models that reward providers based on outcomes, health care organizations (HCO) and community-based organizations (CBO) across the country are increasingly working together to address patients’ social needs.
Estimating Cost Reductions Associated with the Community Support Program for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness
This report presents the results of a study analyzing the impact of the Community Support Program for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness (CSPECH) on the utilization and cost of health care services. CSPECH is an innovative program through which MassHealth reimburses community-based support services provided to chronically homeless individuals residing in permanent supportive housing.
Community Matters: Exploring the Link Between Community Characteristics and Uninsurance in Massachusetts
Despite the near-universal health insurance coverage that the state has maintained for nearly a decade, pockets of high uninsurance remain for both adults and children in communities across Massachusetts. This brief, prepared by the Urban Institute, explores the relationship between community characteristics and the uninsured rate for people of all ages in Massachusetts and highlights the geographic and community context of the remaining uninsured. It also provides data to better target outreach and enrollment activities.
Coordinating Care for Patients with Alcohol or Drug Use Disorders: Effective Practices and Common Barriers in Three Centers
In recent years, integrating treatment for mental health and substance use disorders (SUD) with primary care has been the subject of extensive research testing a number of different integration models and specific interventions. While many of these approaches have shown promise in demonstrations or clinical trials, the true test of value is in real-world settings where there are competing demands on scarce resources, strict fidelity to intervention protocols is difficult, and patients have multiple urgent needs.
Health Care and Social Service Spending and Outcomes: How Does Massachusetts Compare with Other States?
International comparisons of industrialized countries show that those with a higher ratio of social service spending relative to health care spending have better health outcomes. This finding is consistent with decades of research underscoring the importance of social, behavioral, and environmental factors on health outcomes.
Social determinants of health, which encompass social, behavioral and environmental influences on one’s health, have taken center stage in recent health policy discussions. While research indicates that greater attention to these non-medical factors may improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs, translating this evidence into actionable recommendations for policy makers and others has been challenging.