Creating and implementing public health policy can be a daunting task for local communities. Using evidence-based interventions recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF), CityHealth provided cities with blueprints for healthier populations. “Having a healthy population is one of the best drivers of a strong, vital economy,” said Shelley Hearne, DrPH, CityHealth’s principal investigator. “What we did with CityHealth is conceptually focus on cities. Cities are the centers of innovation. They’re trying new approaches, new strategies, and in addition to a focus on populations and a willingness for cooperation, there may be less partisanship than at a state or federal level.”
Building on the partnership theme, Kaiser Permanente recently joined with the de Beaumont Foundation as a national partner in CityHealth. “Kaiser Permanente covers more than 12 million lives,” Brian said, “and they’ve become a partner in CityHealth. That’s a drop-the-mic moment. It shows increasing recognition that healthcare alone can’t make us healthy. That other community-based strategies are needed.”
The shift to value-based reimbursement has forced health systems to pay more attention to social determinants of health, and studies show that one stands out: Housing, both the quality and the location, is one of the best-researched indicators of overall health. Health systems are even designing interventions to improve housing for patients who consume more than their share of health resources.
Growing evidence cited in Health Affairs’ recent series of Health Policy Briefs and elsewhere indicates that safe, affordable housing is necessary to improve health. These points include reducing exposure to toxins, boosting mental health, and freeing up a greater share of a family’s income for health care and food.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there are more than 106,000 deaths attributable to alcohol use each year in the United States, including 47% of homicides and 23% of suicides.
"Most people spend a few hours a year in the doctor’s office. The other 364 days out of the year, people are in the care of their city."
That's according to Loel Solomon, vice president of community health at Kaiser Permanente. Together with the de Beaumont Foundation as part of the CityHealth initiative, his organization examined the 40 largest cities to see how well they're helping residents live their healthiest lives. They looked at things like paid sick leave policies and whether people can bike or walk to work.
A group called CityHealth includes pre-K as a critical component of health. The group assessed different policies in key areas including transportation and education to assess how they support community outcomes.