In a recent Health Affairs blog, authors from the Aging and Disability Business Institute examined the progress community-based organizations (such as area agencies on aging, centers for independent living, and others) have made in partnering with health care organizations to better integrate human services and community living supports.
Previous research indicates that social services (such as housing, nutrition/meals, and income support) can both improve health and reduce costs. Additionally, other evidence suggests that communities with lower health care use and spending for older adults tend to have strong collaborations among organizations in both the health and social sectors (such as hospitals and area agencies on aging).
The blog also highlights findings from a research article* published by Health Affairs that explored the measurable impacts of Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) for improving health outcomes and lowering health care costs of older adults. In this article, an analysis of data from a 2013 national survey of AAAs explored whether their activities helped with avoidable health care usage and prevented unnecessary health care spending in their counties during 2014.
Findings include (from the article abstract):
- "Counties whose AAAs had programs to divert older adults from nursing home placement had significantly lower avoidable nursing home use, compared to counties whose AAAs lacked such programs."
- "Counties whose AAAs maintained informal partnerships with a broad range of organizations in health care and other sectors had significantly lower hospital readmission rates, compared to counties whose AAAs had informal partnerships with fewer types of organizations."
- "AAAs may be a promising source of leadership for cross-sectoral partnerships that effectively address both social and medical determinants of health for older adults."
Read the blog or research article for more details.
* Note: Access to the research article, titled "Cross-Sectorial Partnerships By Area Agencies On Aging: Associations with Health Care Use and Spending," requires a paid subscription to the Health Affairs website. The article also can be purchased from Health Affairs individually.
Learn more about ACL's Business Acumen Initiative to help states and community-based organizations build networks and respond to delivery system changes, including technical assistance, building business capacity for successful contracting with integrated care entities, and developing pathways to sustainability.