We’ve all heard the expression all politics are local, health is local as well and so the issues that are impacting health in a community are going to vary community by community. We know that one’s health is largely determined by factors outside of the healthcare system. When you’re sick you go see your doctor, you see your healthcare provider. He or she may have some advice for you, some some medication but then you’re going to leave that doctor’s office and return to your community. The place where you live work learn and play, and it’s that community in those communities, conditions that have a greater impact on your overall health. Michigan is focused on the role community plays in influencing our health. Oftentimes health starts in our homes, our schools, our workplaces and our neighborhoods before we ever reach a doctor’s office. A Community Health Innovation Region is a broad partnership designed to help people better manage their health through systems change. The result of these efforts includes reducing preventable and expensive medical costs. Creating links between health care providers and community organizations allows us to address non-medical issues that help us treat the whole person, not just problems. Living conditions can explain why some Michiganders are not as healthy as they could be. Take diabetes for example. The medication insulin, often needs to be refrigerated. If someone doesn’t have a refrigerator they can’t manage their diabetes properly. Addressing social determinants of health, such as food security, education, economic stability, and housing, are critical to providing streamlined and effective care. We certainly believe that housing is one of the most important social determinants of health and that without a roof over your head it’s pretty difficult to address other physical health issues. Avalon housing is a supportive housing provider which is the combination of deeply affordable housing for people who are coming out of homelessness and a wide array of creative and very person-centered supportive services. We are part of the Community Health Innovation Region in the state innovation model, so that we can all come together and provide people with whole healthcare, which isn’t possible if we’re not at the same table and addressing people’s entire health needs. Physicians, when they do know a patient reasonably well, they feel bad for that patient if that patient is homeless you know, but doctors don’t know how to treat homelessness. They feel bad for a patient when the guy says I don’t have food. They don’t know how to deal with food lessness. Doctors don’t know how to deal with this. I think it’s really hard to take care of that whole person and I think if you could find somebody to take their health further and could impact on social determinants of health, that would really benefit you. The idea that clinical community linkages will, enrich your practice and your patients health is absolutely true. How do we ensure people get the best care and the right services to actually improve their health outcomes and quality of life? The answer is in collaboration and new thinking. Community Health Innovation Regions help the entire system. Healthcare providers, community organizations, businesses, and payers, by supporting better outcomes for everyone. Oftentimes health plans don’t know where those supports are, who to turn to, how to get access to care, and oftentimes the individual, the enrollees, don’t know what supports are available, or their clinicians their doctors that they see, don’t know what supports are available. These collaborative approaches help to pull together all the resources in a way that’s expedient for them and cost-effective for the payers. These initiatives, I think are empowering for the individual. Getting to population health improvement in a community is really because of the integration and the cohesion of that Community Health Innovation Region and the stakeholders recognizing that it’s got to be a multi-sector approach to improving health. No one entity can do it alone. Community Health Innovation Regions are powerful forces that believe when we work together and treat health locally the entire community benefits. Join us by participating in this unique effort to transform the health of Michigan communities. Visit us online for more information.