Enhance access & care coordination to achieve better patient health & reduce disparities
HRSA’s Health Center Program funds health centers in underserved communities to provide high quality, comprehensive primary and preventive health care for the nation’s most vulnerable individuals and families, including people experiencing homelessness, agricultural workers, and residents of public housing. Approximately 1,400 HRSA-funded health centers operate more than 14,000 sites, providing care on a sliding fee scale to nearly 29 million patients. Over 88% of health center patients are individuals or families living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and nearly 62% of health center patients are racial/ethnic minorities. In 2020, HRSA-funded health centers provided care for 1 out of 11 people in the United States and its territories, 1 in 3 people living in poverty, 1 in 6 people who are uninsured, and 1 in 5 residents in rural areas.
Health centers provide comprehensive primary and preventive care services to underserved populations. Health centers are required to provide patient case management services, (including counseling, referral and follow-up services) and other services designed to assist patients in establishing eligibility for and accessing federal, state, and local programs that provide or financially support the provision of medical, social, housing, educational, or other related services. Improved access to these health center services enables patients to achieve better health outcomes.
The environmental conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age—such as income, education, employment, housing, social support, and transportation—that impact health are known as social determinants of health. SDOH are recognized as having profound effects on health outcomes and contribute to health disparities and inequities. For example, people who do not have access to grocery stores with healthy foods are less likely to have good nutrition. That raises their risk of health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity — and even lowers life expectancy relative to people who have access to healthy foods. As a result, increasingly health care providers screen patients to identify underlying social needs and risk factors (SDOH) and connect patients with community-based resources to address those issues that contribute to poor health outcomes. Improved communication and coordination between health care providers, social service providers and other local resources can help address SDOH issues that adversely affect health outcomes.
This is a three-phase challenge with a total prize purse of up to $1,000,000. Additional details on the Challenge design, structure, timeline, submission process, and judging criteria are coming soon. The Phase 1 start date currently listed is subject to change.