With the country’s increasing focus on healthcare quality and cost has come a wider recognition of the role that social determinants of health – such as housing, food security, education, employment – play in the well-being of people and communities. Community-based organizations (CBOs) have an important role to play enhancing the medical care provided in clinical settings with supportive services delivered in the communities where people live, work, and play.
Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) recently launched a groundbreaking fund, AIM Healthy™, that offers flexible, low-cost capital for community providers of health and human services to work in partnership with hospital systems, health plans, and government to achieve better health outcomes.
For example, a mission-driven, CBO in Los Angeles provides medically tailored meals to vulnerable individuals with chronic diseases (such as HIV, cancer, and diabetes) who are unable to prepare meals themselves. Proper nutrition is a cornerstone of health and wellness, and is increasingly recognized by clinicians as a low-cost, non-medical intervention for chronic disease management that can reduce hospital re-admissions. CBOs, like this one, are increasingly joining forces with health plans to achieve better health outcomes at a lower cost.
An RFI issued by the Partnership for Healthy Outcomes in 2017 gathered responses from over 200 partnerships between CBOs and healthcare organizations across the nation, and revealed that ‒ most commonly ‒ partnerships provide services to impact immediate-term clinical needs, such as reducing hospital admissions or length of stay.
Other collaborative models involve partnerships between government, CBOs, and hospitals to provide people with a continuum of supportive services (e.g., housing, case management, etc.) so they can sustain a full recovery after hospitalization.
To engage with the broader healthcare delivery system, CBOs may need to invest in electronic health record systems and/or facilities, pilot new models of care, hire staff or otherwise build their capacity. AIM Healthy is targeted at organizations working on the frontier of population health in California, providing the flexible capital they need to invest in partnership with the healthcare delivery system.
AIM Healthy loans and lines of credit can, for example, help a recuperative-care nonprofit add beds and social workers and case managers to provide a bridge between the hospital and permanent housing – combatting homelessness as well as hospital and jail readmissions. These loans are investments that ultimately will yield reduced health disparities and improved health and resilience for low-income individuals and communities.
NFF will also offer financial management advice and consulting to select borrowers, and will capture and disseminate learnings about how flexible loan capital can help community organizations to expand health services. These learnings will join a national dialogue about how innovative approaches and cross-sector partnerships can drive better health outcomes for everyone.