Ys provide key services shown to improve health care
On June 29, Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation Massachusetts hosted a forum entitled "Social Equity and Health: Charting a Course for Action". The primary presenters, Lauren Taylor and Elizabeth Bradley, provided information from their new study on Leveraging Social Determinants of Health: What do we know works? Their findings from a review of 60 pieces of published research demonstrate that partnerships between health care organizations and social service organizations help people live healthier lives and reduce health care costs.
Primary to their findings are two key points. First, that social service organizations that are trusted are more likely to have an impact on people's lives. Secondly, that 60% of an individual's health is based on social, environmental, and behavioral factors. Additional research is showing that 55% of people that consume 5% of all Medicare costs list loneliness as their primary health risk.
What does this mean to Ys? It's the opening to an incredible opportunity. YMCAs are uniquely positioned in their communities. We are trusted. We are a natural place for people to gather. As a cause driven and cause minded organization, we are continually looking for ways to engage our communities in healthy choices. We are connecting with people who are not traditional health seekers and we are developing connections with resources to pay for these services.
As research like this continues and organizations like Blue Cross Blue Shield recognize the important role of community based organizations, the YMCAs in the Commonwealth with our over 370 service locations helping one in five residents, will continue to emerge as the natural partner.