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Impacting poverty with medical financial partnerships focused on tax incentives

G. Dalembert, A.G. Fiks, G. O’Neill, R. Rosin, & B.P. Jenssen
NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery

Poverty is a significant determinant of health. Despite poverty’s many ramifications, the health care delivery system does not typically address it directly. The earned income tax credit, a federal refundable sum of money for low-to-moderate-income individuals, is one of the most effective poverty-alleviation tools currently available, but many who are eligible for the credit do not claim it. Medical financial partnerships (MFPs) — collaborations between financial service organizations and health systems to implement services that improve both the health and the financial well-being of the community — offer a pragmatic means of addressing poverty. We adapted the American Academy of Pediatrics model for developing and sustaining effective community partnerships. Over the past 2 years, we have prepared 337 federal tax returns, generating almost $700,000 of refunds to the community. The average MFP client in 2020 received $2,327. The program has high client acceptability, with many repeat clients in the second year and extended family referrals each year. We share details of our execution, including the navigation of challenges, for those interested in implementing this innovative model of health advancement.

Dalembert G, Fiks AG, O’Neill G, Rosin R, Jenssen BP. Impacting poverty with medical financial partnerships focused on tax incentives. NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery 2021; 04 DOI:

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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Social Needs/ SDH
Children and Youth
Social Determinant of Health
Economic Security
Study design
Other Study Design