Community resilience for COVID-19 and beyond: Leveraging a system for health care and social services integration

Health Affairs Blog

Growing consensus supports the view that cross-sector alignment of health care, public health, and social service systems can promote population health and efficient use of resources. Profiling Contra Costa County in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, we suggest that systems that wrap together health care and social services also provide essential tools for community resilience in the face of threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters, by establishing capabilities to identify and assist vulnerable community members.

In mid-March 2020, California announced statewide shelter-in-place orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, health services leaders in Contra Costa County moved to identify and assist those Medicaid beneficiaries in the county who would be most vulnerable to respiratory infection. We describe how the county’s COVID-19 response leveraged cross-sector partnerships, a data-sharing platform, and multidisciplinary case management capacity from an existing health and social services care management program to help vulnerable individuals shelter in place. While it is too early to declare successes in this pandemic, it is a crucial time to document and share examples that could support community resilience.

Brewster AL, Fleming M, Knox M, Roth A. Community Resilience for COVID-19 and Beyond: Leveraging a System for Health Care and Social Services Integration. Health Affairs Blog; August 12, 2020. Available online.

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