The Three Most Common Nonmedical Needs Addressed by Accountable Care Organizations
November 18, 2016 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance
Transportation, housing, and food insecurity are the most common nonmedical needs addressed by accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to a study published in the November 2016 issue of Health Affairs. Little is known about the extent to which healthcare organizations are addressing patients' nonmedical needs, the authors said, "despite broad agreement on their importance." Estimates suggest that 40% to 90% of health outcomes are attributable to outside forces such as social, behavioral, or economic factors, the authors said. For example, stable housing among chronically homeless patients who abuse alcohol reduced medical costs by 53%, in one study cited by the authors. To help better inform future decisions, the authors conducted semistructured telephone interviews with leaders from 32 ACOs, as well as in-depth site visits to 3 of the ACOs. Exactly half (16) of the 32 organizations surveyed addressed patients' nonmedical needs.