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Health Care programs should fund Healthy Homes

The Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) should permit non profit hospitals to meet their charitable purposes by providing for healthy homes

With the passage of ACA, non profit hospitals should promote healthy homes.

    An article in the Columbus Dispatch got the RHINO to wondering if non profit hospitals should shift their focus from charity care to home health issues. Here's the connection. Non profit hospitals get a tax exemption for doing community service. Enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has reduced the number of uninsured patients served by non profit hospitals, so less is spent on "unreimbursed care." What do non profit hospitals do now to carry out their tax exempt mission? The Dispatch writer Ben Sutherly notes "A review found that most of the plans primarily are inventories of ongoing initiatives meant to improve community health."
    But while non profit hospitals focus traditional  "service delivery" models, some hospitals, public health advocates, HUD, and housing advocates are focusing increased attention on the problems resulting from un-healthy homes. Last year, Dr. Megan Sandal told Urban Land Institute “We have a new understanding of the interplay of how housing influences health in terms of stability, quality, and the effect on physical and mental health...”  In October 2015, Dr. Santel was a guest speaker for the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio.
    Nonprofit hospitals don't have to reinvent the wheel to have an impact on making homes healthier. There are some good models for shaping the residential health practice. More on "charity care requirements" here.
However, reinventing the wheel could be transformative. The Dispatch article noted that many of the hospital plans "are short on measurable goals." By going beyond making charitable donations to local non profits, the hospital could partner in residential service delivery and realize a benefit by reducing re-admissions. Cincinnati Children's Hospital provides an example of working at the intersection of health and housing. "...we’ve partnered with the Cincinnati Health Department, which does home inspections. If the family is having problems with conditions in the home, we can get a home inspector in to address the issues with the landlord. We’ve also built a legal aid collaboration so if the landlord still isn’t complying or there are other larger issues, legal advocacy can be pursued." It's All In The Data: Cincinnati Children's HospitalGets Wonky To Transform The Health Of Its Community
 
What's News?

April 11, 2016 Kaiser Health News Hospitals Eye Community Health Workers.

January 31, 2016 Columbus Dispatch Charity care shrinking at central Ohio’s nonprofit hospitals
"Central Ohio’s nonprofit hospitals receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks each year. But the traditional justification for those exemptions is fading rapidly. For decades, caring for the poor without expectation of payment served as the primary basis for tax breaks provided to hospitals. But Ohio's Medicaid expansion has shaken that foundation, reducing the charity-care burden by nearly half in just two years, a “Dispatch” analysis found. The amount of charity care provided at central Ohio’s four hospital systems dropped to $107 million in their most recent fiscal year from $194 million two years earlier. Net community benefit stayed virtually unchanged at $651 million."

New roles for established organizations create new housing

    WKSU features a story this week that connects the dots in housing development in Cleveland.  In a new partnership, the Cleveland Land Bank invests in new housing for vets in cooperation with NEON, a health care provider in Cleveland's Collinwood Neighborhood.  What dots? Well, for some months, RHINO has been promoting the notion that health care providers have unique opportunities to create Healthy Homes for their patients. 
   At the same time, the Cuyahoga Land Bank is becoming a development partner, growing beyond it's original vision as a way to acquire and re use vacant abandoned property. 
    Read the story here:  http://www.wksu.org/news/story/43125
    More here  



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