MVP Health Care, Healthy Alliance Independent Practice Association Announce Projects to Address Social Determinants of Health in the Capital District

Six Local Non-Profits to Receive $800,000 in Funding to Improve Population Health

Media Contacts 
For MVP Health Care: Michelle Golden
For Healthy Alliance IPA: Andrew Beam

Schenectady, NY, February 27, 2020—MVP Health Care and Healthy Alliance Independent Practice Association (IPA) today announced that six local community-based organizations (CBOs) will receive $800,000 in funding to improve the overall well-being of the Capital Region by addressing social determinants of health. The participating CBOs are: The Center for Disability Services, Equinox, Northern Rivers, Trinity Alliance, City Mission of Schenectady, and The Unity House. The funding will also be used to connect social service providers to medical providers via Healthy Together, a state-of-the-art technology platform powered by Unite Us that digitally connects health providers for referral management.

Addressing social determinants of health, or the conditions in which people are born, live, grow, work, and age, has a substantial impact on a person’s health. Each CBO will be creating new or expanding upon existing services to provide assistance and eliminate barriers impacting a person’s health. While all the CBOs offer unique approaches to improve social factors such as employment, housing, and transportation, the support of MVP Health Care and Healthy Alliance IPA will further enhance their ability through new technology, data analytics, and other support systems.

“At MVP, our goal is to keep our members as healthy as possible—and that means investing in innovative solutions that are often outside the walls of a traditional doctors’ office,” said MVP Health Care’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Del Vecchio. “By addressing the underlying social, economic, and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s overall well-being, we are eliminating barriers that often stand in the way of building healthier communities.”

Historically, CBOs have relied on grant funding from states, foundations, and charities to fulfill their missions. However, that model is expected to change, creating a need for non-profits to find new and lasting funding streams. Healthy Alliance IPA—one of the first IPAs to focus exclusively on addressing social determinants of health—serves as a central point of contact to connect medical providers, accountable care organizations, and health insurance companies, such as MVP Health Care, to CBOs. The structure of this partnership, which is unique to the Capital Region, will enable a more coordinated and holistic delivery of services and will work to prepare CBOs for the future.

“When social challenges are addressed before they become medical problems, everyone wins. Health plans win because their members are healthier and therefore don’t require unnecessary medical services. Individuals win because they receive services they need: preventing the hardships that could occur with unmet social needs such as adequate housing, transportation, and criminal justice advocacy.”

The CBOs that are participating in this partnership were selected because they have a long history of commitment and dedication to support those in need. They were also selected based on the geographic area they serve, the scope and strength of their current services, and their ability to expand upon those services. As a requirement, each of the CBOs must adhere to performance standards that improve the health of the most vulnerable members of our community in order to receive funding.

Each of the projects being implemented by the CBOs are as follows:
The Center for Disability Services: The Center for Disability Services Health Services Department will provide case coordination services to patients. Services include screening for social determinants of health, linkage to community resources including transportation, and to provide referral follow up and psychiatric collaborative care services to high-need patients serviced in the Psychiatry Department at Center Health Care (CHC). CHC serves a population of individuals with developmental disabilities and complex medical needs who often require additional support to follow through with treatment recommendations made by their providers.

Equinox: Equinox will support early engagement health and benefits navigation support throughout their existing behavioral health programs and mixed-use facility at the Swinburne Building, which is expected to come online in August 2020. Equinox will hire one Certified Recovery Peer Advocate (CRPA) who will focus on early engagement and retention of consumer participation in substance abuse treatment. Equinox will also hire one Community Health Navigator that will support Equinox program participants with health benefits navigation, referring individuals to primary and specialty care, and services that reduce the burden of social determinates of health.

Northern Rivers: Northern Rivers Family Services will implement a pilot project to screen, identify, and then address social determinants of health of children and their families to positively impact their health and well-being. The pilot project will be implemented at both the agency’s Healy House and the Behavioral Health Centers. The program is split into two components. The Healy House is an NYS Office of Mental Health licensed community-based, short-term crisis respite house for children ages 5 to 12 years. The second is the Behavioral Health Centers [BHC] which are NYS Office of Mental Health licensed outpatient mental health clinics providing services to individuals 64 or younger who need help managing emotional and behavioral challenges.

Trinity Alliance: Trinity Alliance Community Health Workers will provide benefits navigation at a level that is appropriate for the community member seeking services. Interventions may include, but are not limited to: accompanying individuals to the Department of Social Services or other benefits providers; advocating on behalf of community members who are in the process of applying for/securing their benefits; providing application assistance for members; assisting community members in re-certifying their benefits; educating community members about their benefits; and helping community members use their benefits.

City Mission of Schenectady: City Mission of Schenectady residents and community members will have access to Resident Advocates and Empower Health navigators who will provide connections to primary care and mental health services while pursuing avenues to overcome social determinants of health. Supportive Services include, but are not limited to: drop-in hours to address social services, and/or health concerns (i.e., health coaching, appointment scheduling, and follow up, etc.); access to an on-site Psychiatric Nurse to provide mental health services while connecting them to an outpatient provider; and pre-employment screening services through Ellis Works.

Unity House: Unity House will hire Community Health Navigation professionals who will become active users in Healthy Together. Unity House will screen for social determinants of health, as well as create and accept referrals for those living in the city of Troy. Community Health Navigators will leverage Circulation, a transportation service used to connect individuals to non-medical social services that address basic needs, to reduce the burden a lack of transportation has on consumers. Community Health Navigators will also become CDTA Travel Train the Trainers, which will enable them to train residents on CDTA ridership and navigation skills, as well as link consumers to preventive primary care services, follow up appointments, and filling prescriptions.

The CBO projects will begin immediately and continue for two years.

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About MVP Health Care
MVP Health Care is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health insurer caring for more than 700,000 members in New York and Vermont. Committed to the complete well-being of our members and the communities we serve, MVP makes health insurance more convenient, more supportive, and more personal. For more information, visit, or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

About Alliance for Better Health
Alliance for Better Health engages medical and social service providers in developing innovative solutions to promote the health of people and communities, with a goal of transforming the care delivery system into one that incentivizes health and prevention. Established in 2015 as a Performing Provider System in the New York State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, Alliance partners with more than 2,000 providers and organizations across a six-county area in New York’s Tech Valley and Capital Region.