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Health System Leaders Announce over $700 Million in Investments to Address Health, Housing & Economic Inequalities through Community Wealth Building

14 health systems, some of the largest employers in their states, announced unprecedented investments to help address the economic, racial and environmental resource disparities that impact community health outcomes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C., November 5, 2019 – Fourteen hospitals and health systems, including national health systems and regional systems, that are the largest private sector employers in California, Utah, and Wisconsin, along with others that are also among the top 20 largest employers in their states, announced a commitment of over $700 million for place-based investing to create strong and healthy communities.

Health systems are uniquely positioned as leading employers and economic engines in their communities. In addition to providing quality healthcare, they can leverage institutional resources to help address the economic, racial and environmental resource disparities that impact community health outcomes.

Why are these investments needed? These health systems know that the need to address the fundamental root causes of poor health is immense and they wanted to take action now. They also want to deepen institutional leadership in the Healthcare Anchor Network, and the healthcare sector more broadly, by making bold, measurable commitments in this core Anchor Mission strategy area.

Despite record low unemployment and an overall strong economy, our country is experiencing systematically deepening disparities in its economic, health, and well-being outcomes. We live in a world where your zip code could mean a lifespan a decade shorter than someone in a neighboring wealthier area. A recent NYU study showed that 56 of some of the biggest U.S. cities have very large life expectancy gaps, where on average people in one neighborhood can expect to live 20 to 30 years longer than their neighbors a few miles away. 

Factors outside hospital walls—social, economic, environmental, and behavior-related—account for up to 80 percent of the health outcomes a community experiences. In addition to providing quality healthcare, these hospitals and health systems are investing in safe and affordable housing, equitable economic development, small/diverse business development, and other strategies for addressing the social determinants of health. They are also rethinking how to very intentionally align, leverage, and deploy their human resources and procurement power to create a local economic eco-system to support economic and health wellness.

The fourteen health systems are pledging to invest over $700 million toward impact investing. These health systems are some of the largest employers and most respected institutions in their states and localities and include: Advocate Aurora Health, Anchorum St. Vincent, Bon Secours Mercy Health, Boston Medical Center, CommonSpirit Health, Einstein Healthcare Network, Henry Ford Health System, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, ProMedica, Rush University Medical Center, RWJBarnabas Health, Trinity Health, and UMass Memorial Health Care.

The goal is to create sustainable returns for the institutions while deploying that investment capital to address social determinant of health needs in their communities. Place-based investing creates healthy and thriving communities by increasing available capital for positive social, economic, or environmental impact. It supports local and diverse business development and empowers low-income people to create, manage, and own enterprises. These investments will be leveraged several times over to have an even greater impact in communities nationwide.

HAN systems’ investments include financing for affordable housing development, building a new grocery store in a food desert, childcare centers, federally qualified health centers, and Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and local businesses.

There’s also a business impact case for the social impact investing. These institutions can further align their capital with sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and community benefit priorities. They can also achieve a more diversified and impactful investment strategy.

These institutions are members of the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN) that supports health systems to accelerate learning and local implementation of economic inclusion strategies. The HAN hospitals and health systems together employ more than 1.5 million people, purchase over $50 billion annually, and have over $100 billion in investment assets.

“In the last two-and-a-half years, the HAN members have moved forward to collaborate on strategies and to align their business operations to tackle the structural and economic drivers of poor health through place-based investing, as well as through local, inclusive hiring and procurement,” stated Dave Zuckerman, HAN Director. “Anchor mission work utilizes and leverages local community resources to address jobs, training, small business support, and equitable community development. It's individual and community wealth building,” added Zuckerman.

Quotes from the hospitals and health systems making the investments:

Advocate Aurora Health President and CEO Jim Skogsbergh: Our purpose is to help people live well. That’s why we’re proud to stand alongside leading health systems from across the nation to advance this shared mission of driving health equity through meaningful local economic improvement initiatives that strengthen our communities.

Anchorum St. Vincent President and CEO Peter F. Bastone, Dr.PH, MACHM: My team and I are very proud to be an active part of the 2020 Healthcare Anchor Network Leadership Commitment. At Anchorum St. Vincent, our focus is on addressing the social determinants of health that impact our communities of Santa Fe and northern New Mexico. By investing locally in like-minded nonprofits and in the building of infrastructure to serve those in greatest need, we are creating a stronger community for today and for generations to come.

Bon Secours Mercy Health President & CEO John Starcher: Bon Secours Mercy Health has a long-standing, deep commitment to enhancing the health, well-being and economic vitality of entire communities. By using an anchor mission approach that leverages our organization’s many resources, Bon Secours Mercy Health will be able to enhance the availability of sustainable health, social and economic resources necessary for meeting the needs and aspirations of diverse populations. We are proud to be part of the Healthcare Anchor Network and work with peer organizations in supporting innovative community-based solutions.

Boston Medical Center President and CEO Kate Walsh: Boston Medical Center became an early member of the Healthcare Anchor Network because we know that thriving communities are directly tied to the health and wellness of our patients. In addition to the work we do every day to keep our patients healthy, we felt that committing financial resources to support the construction of a neighborhood supermarket would have significant impact by providing employment opportunities and healthy food in the communities where our patients live.

CommonSpirit CEO Llyod H. Dean: We as hospital and health system leaders are prioritizing this work together, as healthy communities are not just built by healing the sick. By extending our work beyond the four walls of our hospitals with partners that provide nutritious food, clean and safe homes, and well-paid jobs, we can holistically address the needs of people who are struggling. This allows us to fulfill the social contract we have with those who we serve to improve their quality of life.

Einstein Healthcare Network President and CEO Barry R. Freedman: As a like-minded, mission driven organization, Einstein is proud to join the esteemed group of healthcare organizations from across the country to collaborate and learn from each other, as we collectively work to address social determinants of health and improve the local economy, including through impact investing. This type of investment creates healthy and thriving communities and will help strengthen our ability to solve the many challenges facing our communities.

Henry Ford Health System President & CEO Wright Lassiter, III.: We are pleased to join these other health care institutions and pledge our support for helping address the disparities that impact the communities we serve. We’ve always maintained that our community investment goes beyond providing health care. It’s about being a community partner and developing innovative ways to address the social, economic and educational issues that affect the health of our communities.

Intermountain Healthcare Senior Vice President and Chief Community Health Officer Mikelle Moore, FACHE: Intermountain’s mission is helping people live the healthiest lives possible. Acting on that mission requires that in addition to providing high-quality healthcare, we intentionally use our organization’s resources to support economic development.

Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson: We’ve committed to invest $200 million to address housing affordability, homelessness, and related challenges in our communities across the nation to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. As a co-founder of the Healthcare Anchor Network, we hope this collective commitment by the 14 health systems will help encourage others to invest alongside us in support of healthier communities and making meaningful progress towards improving the future of health and health care in this country.

ProMedica President and CEO Randy Oostra: ProMedica is committed to creating robust communities because we know that by doing so we can help to improve health outcomes. We’ve had a particularly strong focus on increasing economic opportunity in our communities because of its potential to address several social determinants of health, including a lack of food, employment, housing and transportation.

Rush University Medical Center CEO Dr. Omar Lateef: Decades of disinvestment in Chicago’s West Side have resulted in health inequities that lead to an unacceptable fact: The 85-year life expectancy for a resident of Chicago’s downtown drops to 69 years just 6 miles away in West Garfield Park. These death gaps are unnatural, unjust and must be addressed by improving the economic conditions in the neighborhoods we serve, not only the health conditions of the people who live there. Our partnerships with the community, other hospitals and working with the Healthcare Anchor Network have helped us ensure that our investments are part of our strategy to improve the health and well-being of our anchor mission neighborhoods. 

RWJBarnabas Health President and CEO Barry Ostrowsky: At RWJBarnabas Health, our mission is to create healthier communities. As an anchor institution, we have a moral obligation to address the social and economic inequalities that plague our neighbors, particularly those who are most vulnerable.  We have incorporated intentional hiring practices, purchasing and place-based investment to spur growth and stimulate local economies. Collaborations with incredible organizations such as the Healthcare Anchor Network and its national partners enable us to collectively improve health outcomes, promote health equity, and eliminate healthcare disparities for people in the communities we serve and beyond.

Trinity Health President and CEO Michael A. Slubowski: For the people we serve, Trinity Health is addressing social influencers of health in schools, homes, businesses and throughout the community. We are pleased to collaborate with community leaders to invest in housing, infrastructure and economic development, and we are lending our voice, people and resources to improving conditions beyond delivering health care services.

UMass Memorial Health Care President and CEO Eric Dickson: There are so many variables and hidden barriers converging to negatively impact the health and livelihood of people in our communities that we realized our concerns had to extend beyond the walls of our hospitals. I am extremely proud of the foundation we are laying in establishing our anchor mission program. Through our work here we get to meet our patients where they are, and work with them to help address many of these issues in a non-clinical setting. This work has energized our system and our caregivers.

For more information, visit: https://www.healthcareanchor.network/

Contact: Bich Ha Pham, Manager, Communications & Policy, Healthcare Anchor Network, 202-559-1473 ext 311, bpham@democracycollaborative.org

 

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