Better health usually isn’t the result of higher-quality health care. Factors outside the current health care system, social determinants like income, education, employment, food security, housing, and social inclusion, generally make a bigger difference — especially in disadvantaged communities. We need to rethink how health care organizations can help their patients stay healthy and out of the hospital by addressing these essential factors.
What’s needed is a full-risk model, one that holds provider organizations fully accountable for the health outcomes of their patients. In this model, practices are paid a fee for each patient and then cover all the costs of caring for that patient, whether it’s an emergency department visit, a hospitalization, a surgery, a medication, or a stay in a skilled nursing facility. Only with this degree of accountability can provider organizations be fully aligned with the interests of their patients and invest in what they truly need.