Through recent transitions, BACH has remained focused on connecting hospitals and governing bodies to community-based organizations. For the past five years, we have worked on initiatives that promote health care and community investment into social determinants of health (SDOH) in order to support stronger communities and healthier outcomes. Five key project updates include:
- In December, we launched the Innovative Housing Stability Initiative (ISHI) as part of Boston Medical Center’s Investments in Housing Community Health Initiative in partnership with the Center for Community Health Education and Research (CCHERS) and Health Resources in Action (HRiA). We are facilitating a discovery and formation of an Advisory Task Force who will help us with designing the strategies to support through a 3-year $1,000,000) grant-making and Flex Fund program (funds are in the budget of our fiscal sponsor (HRiA). We are contemplating using this TF as the foundation of a collective impact approach to housing stability in Boston neighborhoods. In conjunction with CCHERS, we have completed a literature review with over 20 resources focused on upstream approaches to housing stability and engaged over 40 organizational partners through key informant interviews and focus groups. In the coming month, we will complete resident focus groups and structure the grantmaking process.
- In February, the Attorney General office released the Community Benefits guidelines with revisions that include a stronger emphasis on community engagement and social determinants. While BACH was not on the AGO’s Advisory Committee, we worked with partners who were (MPHA, MACDC, MCAN, and others) to work to make the CB processes more transparent and accountable. While the guidelines are an improvement, we were unable to convince them that specific information about which organizations received how much funding to accomplish what should be publicly available in their CB reports. However, alignment with DoN priorities and encouragement of collaborations between healthcare institutions was a significant achievement. BACH has had preliminary discussions with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, all of whom are planning to file Determination of Needs in the next few months. These will be the first DoNs filed by Boston hospitals under the new DoN Regulations. BACH’s Director serves on the B&W Community Health Initiative Advisory Committee. The other two are still developing their strategy.
- BACH is a founding member of the Alliance for Community Health Integration (ACHI), which is a coalition of public health, consumer advocacy, social service, housing, and other advocacy organizations working to create a strong unified voice for our health care systems to address equity and Social Determinants of Health. Three priorities areas include: 1) maximizing the impact on SDOH of the new MassHealth Accountable Care Organizations, 2) aligning and increasing hospital investments with community needs, which include the Community Benefit guidelines that were released earlier this year, as well as the MA Department of Public Health, adopts new Community Health Initiatives regulations for hospitals, which was released earlier in 2017 and 3) partnering with healthcare organizations to support and advance safe and affordable housing policy. We have had hospitals including BMC and Children’s sign on to the Housing Bond Bill and Great Neighborhoods Bill, both which have passed through the House in March.
- Boston Children’s Hospital will be releasing two Request for Proposals this year, one this spring and another set in the fall. BACH is in the initial planning stages of a spring community education series about the DoN and Community Benefits processes. Boston Children’s Hospital has agreed to participate in conjunction with the RFP release. They will be held in Mattapan, East Boston, Dorchester, and Roxbury in late April-early May.
- Lastly, BACH’s office has moved to a new space- 2 Boylston Street, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02116 (China Trade Center) with our fiscal sponsor, Health Resources in Action. Our contact information will remain the same.
We are excited about the work we are doing now, and in the future, with Boston residents and our organizational partners to make Boston a healthier and more equitable city. Thank you.