The COVID-19 shadow pandemic: Meeting social needs for a city in lockdown
Addressing patients’ social needs is key to helping patients heal from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), preventing the spread of the virus, and reducing its disproportionate burden on low-income communities and communities of color. New York City Health + Hospitals (NYC H+H) is the city’s single largest healthcare provider to Medicaid and uninsured patients. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NYC H+H staff developed and executed a strategy to meet patients’ intensified social needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. NYC H+H identified food, housing, and income support as patients’ most pressing needs and built programming to quickly connect patients to these resources. While NYC H+H was able to build on its existing foundation of strong social work support of patients, all health systems must prioritize the social needs of patients and their families to mitigate the damage of COVID-19. National and local leaders should accelerate change by developing robust policy approaches to redesign the social and economic system that reinforces structural inequity and exacerbates crises like COVID-19.
Clapp J, Calvo-Friedman A, Cameron S, Kramer N, Kumar SL, Foote E, Lupi J, Osuntuyi O, Chokshi DA. The COVID-19 Shadow Pandemic: Meeting Social Needs For A City In Lockdown. Health Aff (Millwood). 2020 Sep;39(9):1592-1596. PMID: 32673101. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2020.00928. Epub 2020 Jul 16.