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Bad housing and poor health



Chief executives from several of Minnesota’s largest health systems  put a spotlight on the links between housing and health at a panel discussion sponsored by Women of Habitat  and covered by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“We know inequality in housing threatens our region’s long-term growth potential,” said Susan Haigh, president and chief executive of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. “We know healthcare costs must be contained. And we know both of these abstract policy statements hit home for real low-income families every single day.”

Mary Brainerd, the chief executive of HealthPartners, said that most people may think about health as being driven by individual factors, but a lot of it depends on where they live. She said that about 40 percent of health is determined by socioeconomic factors in communities.

Kathryn Correia, chief executive at HealthEast, discussed in-home nurses’ difficult efforts to care for a patient who lived in a condemned building, then in a damp and unventilated basement room:

“There was no way they could take care of his wound, let alone the other issues, in that housing situation. They needed to do a referral for [the patient] to be able to go back institutionally to get care.”

The panelists  talked about efforts to get patients better housing, such as by helping patients who have received eviction notices deal with landlords and connecting patients with housing subsidies.




‘Twice the health’ at ‘half the cost’


Healthcare Payer News reports that a new kind of health system, with insurance built in, “is trying to validate its primary-care model and disrupt a seemingly competitive regional healthcare market.”

It’s Zoom+, a  clinic network now selling insurance for the first time with a unique — indeed, anti-establishment — low-price model.

Founder Dave Sanders, M.D., likes to describe his firm as aiming “to deliver twice the health, at half the cost and 10 times the delight.”

“At 28 neighborhood clinics and ‘advanced care studios’ in Portland, Vancouver, Wash., and Seattle, Zoom patients get team-based care from MDs, NDs, NPs, and PAs, with same day appointments, telemedicine, health coaching, food and exercise counseling, parenting help, mental health treatment and basic dental services, which will all come as part of the health plans.”

“Over the past nine years, Zoom has evolved into a kind of 3.0 version of Group Health Cooperative, HealthPartners or Kaiser Permanente. It might also be compared to direct primary care networks like Qliance or Iora Health, as well the new health insurer Oscar.”

Sanders said: “As physicians, what we all know to be true are that food and movement are the soul of human health, along with relationships, stress and sleep. For some reason, our medical schools and system perpetuate the myth that health relies in laboratories, and imaging and medicine.”

“Zoom offers those condition management services, but the goal is to spread a ‘culture and ethos’  of ‘food and movement as medicine’—clinics that offer personalized activity training, diet counseling and smoothies.”

Healthcare Payer News says: “If Zoom can serve those populations and win converts from the third segment, while nurturing a strong brand and experience, Sanders said they could expand to other regions and patient populations.” But Zoom does not yet accept  Medicaid or Medicare.



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