Addressing the Root Causes of Poor Health

Nov 20 2019

At every level of health care, you’ll find professionals dedicated to the wellbeing of every patient who comes through their doors. But the story of a patient’s health does not start and stop within the four walls of a hospital – it’s what happens outside of the traditional heath care setting that may have the biggest impact on a patient’s health.

A recent study by NYU showed that in 56 of some of the largest cities in the U.S., there are large life expectancy gaps. These gaps can sometimes represent a difference of 20 to 30 years for individuals living just a few miles apart.

For many years, the strategy in addressing such disparities has been to invest in access to medical care. However, a study from the University of Wisconsin Health Institute found that such medical services alone only determine 20 percent of a patient’s health. This means that 80 percent of a person’s health is determined by factors outside the purview of health care, such as socioeconomic status, physical environment and behavior-related issues.

The Healthcare Anchor Network is a national collaboration of 45+ hospitals and health systems dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health. Bon Secours Mercy Health is a member of the Healthcare Anchor Network and is one of 14 health systems that have together committed $700 million for place-based investing to develop strong and healthy communities.

These investments will increase the resources and opportunities available to community members, allowing for positive social, economic and environmental change and ultimately, improved health.

Bon Secours Mercy Health’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of our communities and bring good help to those in need, especially people who are poor, dying and underserved. By addressing the fundamental root causes of poor health, Bon Secours Mercy Health is working alongside its partners with the Healthcare Anchor Network to fulfill its mission.

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