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How Much Are Health Systems Spending on Social Determinants?

February 13, 2020 / Jacqueline LaPointe

Health systems are making significant investments in programs that address social determinants of health, such as housing, employment, and food security, according to a new study published in Health Affairs. In analysis of public announcements of new social determinants of health programs operated by US health systems from Jan. 1, 2017, to Nov. 30, 2019, researchers from New York University uncovered at least a $2.5 billion in investments from 57 health systems that collectively included 917 hospitals. The health system funds were allocated to 78 unique programs launched during that time. About two-thirds of the total investment ($1.6 billion) was specifically committed to housing-focused efforts, followed by employment (28 programs, $1.1 billion), education (14 programs, $476.4 million), food security (25 programs, $294.2 million), social and community context (13 programs, $253.1 million), and transportation (6 programs, $32 million).