Utah Alliance for the Determinants of Health Story

Former Governor Mike Leavitt founded Leavitt Partners to help improve healthcare across the United States. When he found a way to contribute his expertise in Utah, he chose to team up with Intermountain Healthcare to form the beginnings of the Utah Alliance for the Determinants of Health. The goal of the Alliance is to address social needs in order to improve health and well-being and make healthcare more affordable for all.

Emerging evidence indicates that addressing key primary social determinants of health—determinants including housing instability, utility needs, food insecurity, interpersonal violence, and transportation needs—can improve and well-being while lowering healthcare costs and making healthcare more affordable. Addressing these social determinants requires innovative, comprehensive, and collaborative solutions from public and private sectors.

To address the social determinants of health, Intermountain Healthcare and community partners are implementing a demonstration project to address the social needs of SelectHealth Medicaid members in Washington County and Weber County. This demonstration comes with an investment of $12 million over three years to address social needs. Findings from the demonstration can be scaled within Intermountain Healthcare, nationally, and globally in future years. 

This work will be supported by a digital platform that allows tracking of social needs and communication between healthcare providers and social service organizations.

This three-year demonstration project is built on a framework of three key components—awareness, assistance, and alignment.

  • Awareness includes screening high-risk individuals for social needs. 
  • Assistance includes navigating to services by a community health worker. 
  • Alignment includes developing shared goals with community partners, identifying and addressing gaps in community resources, and sharing data across organizations.

To measure success, the Alliance tracks the total costs of care, hospital readmissions, emergency department visits for non-emergent needs, and improvements in addressing social needs. When the demonstration period completes, the Alliance will scale successful components to other communities and share our results nationally.

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