Ross Owen Outlines the Importance of Local Partnerships When Caring for Complex Populations

Partnering with local nonprofits with expertise in various areas, such as food support, vocational services, and mental health case management, Hennepin Health has been able to successful manage the health of a complex population, explained Ross Owen, health strategy director of Hennepin County.

How has Hennepin Health's partnerships with local nonprofits affected healthcare utilization and outcomes?
Our partnerships with local nonprofits have been really invaluable in our efforts to manage this population [Medicaid expansion group]. I think one of the primary learnings of this effort is that we have put a lot of work into identifying the degree of social need that the populations in our healthcare systems have, and then realize that we as a provider, healthcare delivery system are pretty poorly equipped to address those needs we're identifying.

And the good news has been that we have community partners that have existed for much longer than our healthcare system has realized that these needs are there. And so for a couple of examples, we have entered into a preferred partnership with one of the local food banks in the urban area, and have developed an arrangement where we do direct referrals to food support, as well as building our own on-campus food pantry. We have also partnered with a local nonprofit that is expert in vocational services and job supports, and made their expertise available to our clinical care teams for individuals who are interested in re-entering the workforce.

And the last example would be, we have contracted with a community partner that focuses on mental health and chemical dependency case management, and have made their services available out in the community to serve our members who have those needs as well. And it's my firm belief that without their expertise and their unique ability to connect with and serve this population, we would have been much less successful in managing the health of the population.

Ross Owen will be speaking at the spring meeting of the ACO & Emerging Healthcare Delivery Coalition®, held May 4-5 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Learn more and register.
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