Well-intentioned, payer philanthropy is the wrong approach to solving the social determinants of health (SDoH) needs in American communities, writes Jacob Reider, M.D., CEO of Alliance for Better Health, and the former deputy director of the Office of the National Coordinator Health Information Technology, in a piece published by Health Payer Intelligence.

Reider’s commentary is the latest recommended reading in our semi-regular series that suggests articles, white papers, or issue briefs of interest to RISE members. His piece tackles a problem of growing interest to the health care industry: the need to address (SDoH).

The problem, he notes, is that payer philanthropy makes it “too easy” to throw money at a problem and helps to perpetuate a “grants mindset in community-based organizations (CBOs) without closely tracking the activities and associated outcomes produced by the funding.”  Indeed, in some cases the programs are more focused on marketing than improving member health, according to Reider.

While the programs can lead to improvements in the quality of life for some individuals, he says, they don’t represent a comprehensive solution that organizations can sustain and replicate across entire communities.

Instead, he advocates for the creation of collaborative, accountable networks of providers, CBOs, and MCOs, to deliver programs that address SDoH. These initiatives call for the collaborative, not just the payer, to make decisions about funding the program and what metrics will define and measure success.

Editor’s note: Reider will moderate a fireside chat with Kelly Cronin, deputy administrator, innovation an partnership, HHS Administration for Community Living, about the Department of Health & Human Services’ plans to address SDoH at The National Summit on Social Determinants of Health, March 15-17, at the Omni Nashville Hotel. Click here for the full agenda and here for registration information.