The grant funding will go to programs addressing homelessness, community health clinic access, and other social determinants of health.
Los Angeles-based health system Cedars-Sinai is offering $15 million in grant opportunities to target housing and homelessness issues, access to community care clinics, and other institutions addressing the social determinants of health.
The grants will go to over 100 different programs across Los Angeles County that are working toward addressing the social determinants of health using strategies that are relevant to organizations’ current resources and needs.
The $15 million in grant opportunities is an increase from Cedars-Sinai’s previous community health investments, which totaled to $5.9 million last year.
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“We take our role in the community as seriously as we take patient care, research and education,” said Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO at Cedars-Sinai. “We are driven by a strategic focus on improving access to care and addressing social determinants of health. Ultimately, we are working to break down barriers that affect tens of thousands of people within the safety net.”
Cedars-Sinai will be funneling a significant portion of those grants to organizations working to address homelessness and housing security. The homeless population in and around Los Angeles has grown in recent years, demanding the attention of Cedars-Sinai and other healthcare organizations that observe a link between housing and health.
Specifically, the city has seen a 12 percent increase in its homeless population since last year, Cedars-Sinai said, citing data from the 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count. That brings the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles up to nearly 59,000.
Housing insecurity is also a mounting issue, with nearly 600,000 families spending at least 90 percent of their incomes on housing.
Cedars-Sinai is dedicating a total of $2.5 million in grant funding to help over 20 organizations address the looming housing issue in Los Angeles County. Programs include a project in the City of Santa Monica, which will use $100,000 to study comprehensive care for homeless residents.
Additionally, Cedars-Sinai will invest in organizations working to understand solutions to chronic homelessness, create vocational training for LGBT youth who are transitioning out of homelessness, establish healthcare and social navigator programs for homeless individuals, and train first responders to address health needs for homeless individuals.
The health system also announced grant awards for community health clinics and federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs). These community-based health centers are the main source of healthcare for many in Los Angeles County, Cedars-Sinai pointed out, with nearly 1.6 million Los Angeles residents utilizing community health centers to access care.
Cedars-Sinai announced it will dedicate $1.5 million over two years to 17 different local community health centers. Grants are intended to help health centers detect and address the social determinants of health in their patients, specifically issues with food security and transportation to care.
The health system also announced various other grant opportunities targeted at improving patient access to care and whole-person care. A $500,000 grant to Planned Parenthood will help bring school-based wellbeing to students in the Los Angeles area, for example.
At Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital, a $1 million grant will help promote better behavioral health access and care coordination. Five other organizations across Los Angeles County will receive similar funding opportunities. Another $1.4 million grant will go toward workforce development.
Finally, Cedars-Sinai is making investments in organizations and clinics that align with their values, specifically those regarding access to care for all patients.
These investments follow along with the industry’s increasing awareness of the social determinants of health and obligations to reinvest in community health. Kaiser Permanente, which also provides care in much of California and in other areas across the country, has likewise made considerable investments in housing and health initiatives.
And per data from the American Hospital Association, non-profit organizations nationwide invested nearly $95 billion in community health in 2016, the most recent year for which the organization has data.
As healthcare organizations continue to recognize the link between patient wellness and the social determinants of health, these community health investments will likely become healthcare mainstays. Hospitals that can leverage community action to support patients outside the hospital and improve access to care will ideally help keep patients healthier in the long run.
Date: July 19, 2019