IU Health to boost community health through new initiatives

As Indiana grapples with an unfortunate lack of investment in public health infrastructure, Indiana University Health has made a record commitment to the state. Our council recently allocated $1 billion for community health initiatives and new models of care. This represents one of the most significant investments aimed at improving the health of Hoosiers, while promising to reduce the cost of health care. We now have a new opportunity to confront the social causes that are helping to make Indiana one of the nation’s unhealthiest states more broadly than ever.

Funding comes at a critical time. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption. Alarmingly, Indiana’s health is deteriorating, even though Indiana ranks 40th among states for global public health. Indiana also ranks near the bottom of the states for state public health funding per person, and this shows. While our state benefits from dedicated providers, Indiana faces appalling health metrics, including high rates of smoking and maternal deaths, as well as increasing incidents of fatal drug poisonings.

As the largest health care system in the state, IU Health is working hard to help. New community health investment initiatives include an additional $100 million for the IU Health Community Impact Investment Fund, which provides annual grants to vital community programs across the state. An additional $400 million will go to supporting digital transformation, clinical advancements and partnerships that bring new technical capabilities to patient care. Finally, $500 million will be spent in close consultation with IU Health’s government, nonprofit, neighborhood and education partners for health-related developments near IU Health’s expanding campus at the center. -city of Indianapolis.

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These new community health investment commitments enable IU Health to extend more resources beyond the walls of our hospitals to address key social barriers to good health. Research and common sense both tell us that the environments in which people live, as well as their lifestyle, education and economic status, play a greater role in determining a person’s health than the treatment and care after a person is ill or injured. We also know that funds spent on improving people’s health will reduce health care costs for everyone, not just those who have the resources to have health insurance.

To prepare for the new allocations, IU Health has significantly expanded its staff and community health programs. Our more than 200 medical practices across the state can now see behavioral health specialists and other specialists at the push of a button, so patients who need immediate assistance don’t have to wait for a referral appointment. Similar links allow physicians to connect patients with social workers to address non-medical needs, such as housing or food insecurity. IU Health is investing heavily to address child mortality, support smoking cessation, and provide behavioral health services where needs have increased dramatically during the pandemic.

A look at a wing inside the coronavirus emergency area inside UI Health Methodist on Thursday, April 30, 2020.

The funding will critically support community health initiatives in the heart of Indianapolis. This is where IU Health is making its largest capital investment in a new acute care hospital that will serve future generations of Hoosiers in all 92 counties. IU Health’s community health programs in downtown Indianapolis include a health science education program at Crispus Attucks High School and a workforce training center. Expect much more as IU Health works with partners to roll out new initiatives that impact health, especially in minority communities and among people with low incomes and disabilities.

As new funds are invested over the next few years, IU Health is committed to lower its prices the national average by 2025, saving patients and their employers more than $1 billion over five years.

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At the same time, IU Health advanced a major financial contribution of $416 million to Indiana University School of Medicine, fulfilling IU Health’s unique mission to not only provide patient care to all those in need, but also to fund research into new cures and help educate the next generation. health care providers. The new funds will help Indiana University increase nursing enrollment to address the state’s nursing shortage, support cutting-edge health and medical research initiatives, and recruit more researchers and of world-class physicians, including those from diverse backgrounds.

We are confident that these historic funding commitments for community health and IU Health’s new models of care will be among the most impactful investments ever made in health care for Indiana. They will help Hoosiers achieve better health outcomes — and reduce health care costs — by dramatically increasing community health spending that has been allowed to languish in Indiana. Few goals, if any, are more important to our state.

Dennis Murphy is the President and CEO of Indiana University Health.

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