Diversity & Inclusion: Unbundling the Social Determinants of Health

At our recent session of Straight Talk, Diversity & Inclusion: Unbundling the Social Determinants of Health, we enjoyed the perspective of industry leaders speaking on the social determinants of health and relevant population health data. The program can be found here

(3:00) Karen Mello, Director of Community Impact at the United Way of Greater Waterbury was our first presenter. Karen introduced us to ALICE.  Nearly 40% of full time employed CT households are considered ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.  These hard- working, full-time employed households earn above the Federal Poverty Level, eliminating their ability to receive subsidies, yet the cost of living in our state consistently outpaces what they earn.  45% of jobs in our state pay less than $20 an hour, making it very challenging to afford necessities. The United Way aims to help families and individuals become financially stable and reach their full potential, through training, educational opportunities and income supports.     All are welcome, regardless of income status to grow their savings through the Alice Saves ProgramWalk a mile in Alice’s shoes. Here you will experience some of the tough choices that ALICE households need to make every single day and learn about the commitment United Way has made to help ALICE families:  http://www.makingtoughchoices.org/

(20:55) Brooke Palkie, EdD, Chair, Health Science and Technology Department Program Director at Charter Oak State College, spoke regarding matters of population health and the utilization of our Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) which are a core component of the health care safety net in underserved communities. Brooke spoke about the social determinants of health and the importance of making your data actionable!  By regularly collecting and analyzing data, you can proactively identify at-risk populations, decrease health disparities, target, and facilitate necessary services and ultimately improve health outcomes. 

(42:35) Ashok Subramanian, CEO at health benefit provider, Centivo spoke regarding the team-oriented, Primary-care model Centivo employs and its direct understanding and alignment of client/employer needs in achieving greater affordability and avoiding the utilization of unnecessary care.  Ashok reported that too many Americans are “medically homeless” as 1 in 4 adults do not have a PCP and that figure becomes 1 in 3 in the 30 and under crowd.  Ashok mentioned that high deductible plans are popular with lower income American’s because they help make budgets work. In a nation where so many people do not have $400 available to cover an unforeseen emergency… deductibles lead to avoidance of care.  Medical bankruptcies represent over 66% of all personal bankruptcies in this country. In fact, one third of all GoFundMe funds raised are crowd sourced to cover medical expenses. 

Thank you to the BlueBack Health team, health benefit provider, Centivo, Charter Oak State College and the United Way of Greater Waterbury for joining us for a candid discussion as we addressed the challenges and realities of our friends and neighbors facing economic instability. 

The conversation does not end here.  Stay tuned for upcoming Straight Talk programming brought to you by BlueBack Health.