A community development program and reduction in high-cost health care use


Adverse housing and neighborhood conditions influence child health. The Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families community development initiative was established in 2008 to address housing, education, employment, and other neighborhood-level, child health–influencing factors on the south side of Columbus, Ohio, with the goal of improving child health and well-being. In this article, we discuss the path from advocacy to outcomes analysis in this initiative and assess changes in high-cost health care use by children in the target area over the first decade of implementation. Change in health care use was measured by using a difference-in-differences approach comparing emergency department visits, inpatient stays, and inpatient length of stay in the intervention neighborhood and a propensity score–matched, pooled comparator neighborhood in the same city. The baseline and follow-up periods were August 2008 to July 2010 and August 2015 to July 2017, respectively. Findings from this analysis reveal that compared to 2 pooled comparison neighborhoods, the intervention neighborhood trended, nonsignificantly, toward greater decreases in inpatient stays and emergency department visits and smaller increases in length of stays. These results suggest that our community development activities may be influencing health care use outcomes, but in the early years of the intervention relative changes are modest and are variable based on the definition of the intervention and comparator neighborhoods. Lessons learned in expanding from advocacy to analysis include the importance of building multidisciplinary teams that can apply novel approaches to analysis, moderating expectations, and retaining focus on the broader social context.

Chisolm DJ, Jones C, Root ED, Dolce M, Kelleher KJ. A community development program and reduction in high-cost health care use. Pediatrics. 2020;146(2):e20194053. PMID: 32636235. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2019-4053.

Publication Year: 
Resource Type: 
Peer Reviewed Research
Study Design: 
Pre-post with Comparison Group
Social Determinant of Health: 
Housing Stability
Screening Research: