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MVP Health Care and Healthy Alliance Independent Practice Association will spend $800,000 to support social determinants of health.

The partnership, announced earliery this month, is a first of its kind in the nation, according to the two groups, and can serve as a model for communities trying to address SDOH.

The funding will be distributed to a select group of not-for-profits whose services will improve the overall health of those in need, executives of the organizations say. It will also be used to connect the social service providers to medical providers via Unite Us, a technology platform that digitally connects the two sectors for referrals and tracking purposes.

“Addressing social determinants of health, or the conditions in which people are born, live, grow, work and age, has a substantial impact on a person’s health,” according to MVP Health Care and Healthy Alliance IPA, which serves 700,000 members, New York’s largest managed healthcare organization.

The two organizations will launch the program to work with community-based organizations (CBOs) to help high-need patients get housing, nutrition, and transportation some time before Sept. 23, they said.

“At MVP, we understand the important role that social factors can have on a person’s overall health and how those influences can effect short and long-term outcomes,” said Christopher Del Vecchio, president of MVP Health Care. “Investing in the underlying social, economic, and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s health, reinforces our commitment not only to the overall health and wellness of our members, but to the entire Capital Region community.”

Healthy Alliance IPA, with its more than 2,000 providers and organizations across a six- county area in New York, claims it is the first IPA to focus exclusively on addressing SDOH. The IPA structure serves as a central point of contact to connect medical providers, CBOs, accountable care organizations, and managed care organizations (MCOs).

Traditional funding streams through state grants, foundations and charities is expected to change over the next three to five years, creating an opening for provider organizations to align with MCOs and to tackle SDOH, the two groups said.

“Our new IPA is a direct response to the growing body of research demonstrating that addressing social determinants of health more effectively in underserved communities can improve health while lowering costs,” said Jacob Reider, M.D., CEO of Alliance for Better Health.

“When people have safe housing, access to healthy food, convenient transportation, and other critical social needs met, they’re far more likely to seek and maintain preventive medical activities, which ends up reducing the frequency of emergency department visits and hospital admissions that cost our health system billions every year,” Reider said. “We are proud to be working with MVP Health Care as our first partner in this endeavor and look forward to making a difference in the lives of Capital Region residents.”