In late 2019, 14 United States hospitals and health systems announced a $700 million investment to create strong and healthy communities, according to a release by The Democracy Collaborative, a national leader in equitable, inclusive and sustainable community wealth development.
These hospitals and health systems collaborating include those of national and regional health systems that are the largest private sector employers in California, Utah, and Wisconsin, along with others among the top 20 largest employers in their states.
According to the release, this collaboration was initiated because the health investors know the need to address the fundamental root causes of poor health is immense and they want to take action now.
Additionally, the initiative is to deepen institutional leadership in the Healthcare Anchor Network, and the healthcare sector more broadly, by making bold, measurable commitments in this core Anchor Mission strategy area, the release says.
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Despite record low unemployment and an overall strong economy, the U.S. is experiencing disparities in its economy, health, and well-being.
We live in a world where your zip code could mean a lifespan a decade shorter than someone in a neighboring wealthier area, the release says.
A recent NYU study shows 56 of some of the biggest U.S. cities have very large life expectancy gaps, where on average people in one neighborhood can expect to live 20 to 30 years longer than their neighbors a few miles away.
Factors outside hospital walls—social, economic, environmental, and behavior-related—account for up to 80% of the health outcomes a community experiences.
In addition to providing quality healthcare, these hospitals and health systems are investing in safe and affordable housing, equitable economic development, small and diverse business development, and other strategies for addressing the social determinants of health. They are also rethinking how to align, leverage, and deploy their human resources and power to create a local economic eco-system to support economic and health wellness, The Democracy Collaborative says.
The 14 investors in the collaboration include: Advocate Aurora Health, Anchorum St. Vincent, Bon Secours Mercy Health, Boston Medical Center, CommonSpirit Health, Einstein Healthcare Network, Henry Ford Health System, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, ProMedica, Rush University Medical Center, RWJBarnabas Health, Trinity Health, and UMass Memorial Health Care.