FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | June 14, 2018
Contact: Kevin Nix | (202) 431-5796
Legacy Community Health Launches New Social Determinants of Health Initiative
HOUSTON – Legacy Community Health, Houston’s largest non-profit community health system, has launched a social determinants of health program to address the socio-economic factors its patients face – not just on providing high-quality clinical care inside the exam room. The program connects low-income patients with food, transportation, utility and housing assistance.
“This is about treating the whole person,” said Dr. Ann Barnes, Legacy’s Chief Medical Officer. “The majority of a person’s health and well-being exists outside of the care delivered in the doctor’s office –where people live, work and play. Poor socio-economic conditions can have a negative effect on your health.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have outlined the importance of addressing social factors impacting an individual’s health.
Legacy began a social determinants pilot program earlier this year. Of the 2,200 patients screened at two of its locations in Fifth Ward and Southwest Houston, 600 indicated some type of social need. The majority cited food, followed by housing. More than 30 health advocates trained by the health center then connected these patients with food pantries and community-based organizations. The advocates follow up with patients to make sure they’ve received the care they need.
“The patient follow up is the key part of our program,” said Felicia Latson, Program Director for Social Determinants of Health. “We want to make sure our patients are actually getting the assistance they need. It’s how we’re measuring success.”
The pilot has now become a permanent initiative, modeled from Health Leads, an organization that connects patients to the community-based resources they need to be healthy.
Legacy Community Health, a not-for-profit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), provides comprehensive care to over 150,000 community members, regardless of their ability to pay, at 30 clinics in Southeast Texas. A United Way agency, Legacy provides adult primary care, pediatrics, OB/GYN and maternity, behavioral health, HIV/AIDS care, and dental/vision.