Access: The TAC Blog
HOSPITAL AND HEALTH SYSTEM LEADERS are demonstrating a growing recognition of the powerful ways health outcomes are improved by access to safe and affordable housing. By forming innovative partnerships and programs to address the housing and supportive service needs of vulnerable populations, health care entities have the opportunity not only to improve individuals’ well-being but to reduce costs and strengthen communities as well.
In recognition of this promising trend, TAC — with the support of the Melville Charitable Trust — engaged mission-driven hospitals in a peer-to-peer Housing and Healthy Communities Learning Network that brought the knowledge of subject matter experts to participating hospital leaders. Our goal was to help participating hospitals, which ranged from a large urban institution serving over 180,000 unique patients annually to several that serve smaller rural areas, to explore innovative partnerships in their own communities. With such initiatives, anchor institutions can increase access to affordable housing and the supportive services required to improve health and sustain tenancy for vulnerable patient populations, while also supporting the communities in which they reside.
From June to December of 2019, Learning Network sessions focused on topics such as leveraging hospital resources for housing partnerships, building multi-hospital and cross-system collaborations with the housing sector, identifying priority populations, and evaluating short- and long-term outcomes. Reflecting on the experience, participants appreciated the depth of content covered, and valuable opportunities to connect with other participating hospitals, stakeholders, and subject matter experts. They highlighted these insights:
Collaboration takes work — but it’s worth it.
Participants gained a deeper understanding of the varied considerations and steps required to partner with housing finance agencies, housing developers, and service providers. Participating hospitals reported feeling more equipped and confident to engage such potential partners in conversations now that they are more familiar with the practices, terminology, and vernacular of these systems.
The right data is key.
Participants gained clarity on which sources of data can be used to identify priority patient populations for housing and health care initiatives, and on the metrics that can be monitored to measure a new program’s performance.
Systems of all sizes have a role.
Housing and health care collaborative partnerships can range in size from multi-million dollar efforts, which are most frequently cited in this growing field, to much smaller initiatives (i.e. $100,000 and under). Participants from smaller hospital systems in rural areas noted that this realization gave them hope that they could have an impact and make a significant contribution to their community’s needs.
Potential partners abound.
Participants gained an understanding and appreciation for the diverse key stakeholders that can contribute to an initiative’s design, funding, and promotion. Participating hospitals learned how engaging HUD homeless Continuums of Care, public housing agencies, community health clinics, behavioral health providers, philanthropic organizations, elected officials, and others can help generate community and public support for these kinds of initiatives and set them up for long-term sustainability.
Cutting-edge innovators have knowledge to share.
Charles Richman, Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, described his agency’s initiative, which incentivized hospitals to develop multifamily housing with set-aside units for frequent utilizers of hospital emergency departments. Barbara DiPietro, Senior Director of Policy at the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, reviewed for participants the extensive list of recent studies documenting the efficacy of combining housing, health care, and supportive services for those who are frequent utilizers of emergency service systems. Participants also appreciated a range of publications and case studies accompanying each of the topical sessions, and reported that they have used this literature to engage executive leadership in discussions about launching their own housing and health initiatives.
TAC is excited to announce a second round of the Housing and Healthy Communities Learning Network, to be offered in six monthly virtual learning sessions from May to October of this year. This round of the Learning Network will be focused regionally, and is open to hospitals in Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
For more information and directions for a simple application process, visit bit.ly/Housing-Learning-Network or email TAC Senior Associate Rachel Post. *** Please note that due to the Coronavirus crisis, the timing of this opportunity may be adjusted. Please be in touch about your interest and needs.
An International Gathering to Strengthen Behavioral Health Leadership
Kevin Martone, TAC's Executive Director, recently joined colleagues from eight other countries for a Knowledge Exchange on Mental Health Policy, one of three tracks in the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership Exchange in Washington, DC. Peer to peer, participants shared perspectives, questions, and solutions on common challenges in their very different countries - such as coordinating effective collaborative advocacy, making mental health parity a reality, and exploring the potential of telehealth. In addition to his presentation "That Was (Not) Easy!: Implementing Science to Policy," Kevin also participated in an invitation-only group focused specifically on rural mental health issues in different countries.
Housing and Healthy Communities: A Learning Network
Safe, decent, affordable housing is known to be a significant "social determinant of health" that can contribute to improved management of physical and behavioral health conditions. Affordable housing with supportive services is recognized for its potential to reduce emergency department visits and hospital admissions, as well as shortening average length of stay in inpatient settings. In growing recognition of these facts, hospitals and health systems across the country are considering their role in improving access to affordable housing in the communities that surround their facilities.
TAC has convened a peer-to-peer learning network of hospital systems from across the country to facilitate this important exploration. Subject matter experts and participants share knowledge and ideas in monthly calls focused on topics such as leveraging hospital resources, building multi-hospital partnerships and community collaboratives, identifying priority populations, setting performance measurements, evaluating short- and long-term outcomes, sustaining partnerships, and designing communication strategies to convey community impact.
TAC is proud to bring nationally recognized innovators to this monthly series to address the needs of both urban and rural hospitals as they design community-specific plans that meet the needs of priority patient populations. To learn more about this project, be on the lookout for a December post on Access: The TAC Blog. Should your hospital system be interested in joining a future learning network to explore or facilitate planning for housing partnerships, email TAC Senior Associate Rachel Post.
TAC Associate Jennifer Ingle conducted a series of trainings with the Cambridge (MA) Multi-Service Center on the Principles of Housing First, Motivational Interviewing, Co-Occurring Disorders & Trauma, and De-escalation Techniques; Senior Associate Lauren Knott led off a panel discussion on "Innovations in Youth Collaboration: Best Practices in Creating and Engaging a Youth Action Board" at this year's Point Source Youth symposium; Senior Associate Nicole LiBaire was interviewed about post-disaster community resilience for the article "Dedicated to Recovery" in the Chico News & Review; Executive Director Kevin Martone co-authored, with Human Services Director Francine Arienti and Senior Consultant Sherry Lerch, Olmstead at 20: Using the Vision of Olmstead to Decriminalize Mental Illness; Senior Consultant Lisa Sloane facilitated the panel "Mainstream Vouchers: Overcoming Obstacles" at the 2019 NAHRO Summer Conference; together with two additional co-authors, Senior Consultant John O'Brien and Senior Associate Tyler Sadwith published "Leveraging Medicaid to Combat the Opioid Epidemic: How Leader States and Health Plans Deliver Evidence-Based Treatment" on the Health Affairs blog; Senior Associate Rachel Post presented in a SAMHSA webinar on "Housing First and Permanent Supportive Housing: Funding and Policy Considerations," and on "Using Peer Providers in Supportive Housing Programs"at the Washington State Peer Pathways Conference; and an article by TAC consultant Naomi Sweitzer, "Building Relationships between HUD Multifamily Property Owners & CoCs," was published by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Congratulations to Lauren Knott, Ashley Mann-McLellan, and Douglas Tetrault, who have all advanced to become TAC Senior Associates. And a round of applause to Senior Associate Melany Mondello, who has completed her M.B.A.!