Kaiser Permanente Launches Community Network to Address Unmet Social Health Needs
Mid-Atlantic Community Network connects social service organizations across region as pandemic’s economic impact sets in
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to demonstrate that unmet social needs are barriers to health and well-being for many Americans. In Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, more than 1.5 million people have filed for unemployment due to the pandemic – with many facing food insecurity, homelessness and many other challenges. To address these vital social health needs, Kaiser Permanente has partnered with Unite Us to launch the Mid-Atlantic Community Network (MACN), a comprehensive community resource linking social service organizations, health care providers and public agencies in the region. The new network launched in Washington, D.C. and suburban Maryland this month with expansion planned to Baltimore in late 2020, and to Northern Virginia in 2021. As part of its nationwide commitment to address social health needs, Kaiser Permanente is providing free access to this community network for all non-profit organizations, community clinics and hospitals.
Using a shared technology platform through Unite Us, the MACN will offer critical health care and social services such as housing, food, employment, behavioral health and utilities assistance by connecting community residents (including Kaiser Permanente members) to service organizations, health care providers and public agencies that can address these needs. The network consists of three components:
- A network of organizations addressing social and health needs
- A technology platform for participating organizations to collaborate and communicate with each other
- An expansive resource directory of providers in the region
“At Kaiser Permanente, we believe that total health encompasses physical, mental and social well-being. Improving health does not happen only within the walls of a doctor’s office or medical center. By addressing social needs, we can help our members and communities truly thrive,” said Ruth Williams-Brinkley, RN, regional president at Kaiser Permanente. “In partnership with Unite Us, we are helping residents access vital resources and services across the region.”
In response to COVID-19, Kaiser Permanente expedited its timeline to launch the community network due to the growing need for social supports across the nation and specifically in the region. With more people facing economic challenges stemming from the pandemic, the network will help to expand access and coordinate services for those most in need of social supports.
Source: Kaiser Permanente