Centene launches new Social Health Bridge to tackle SDOH

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Multi-line, managed care enterprise Centene is launching a Social Health Bridge, intended to help community-based organizations and healthcare organizations in working together to address social determinants of health.

Centene’s Social Health Bridge will work with payers, ACOs, physicians and hospital systems to bring data-driven approaches to achieving value-based care, Centene executives say. To accomplish its goals, Centene will leverage best-in-class tools for use with its Social Health Bridge, to include machine learning, but it’s not able at this time to share its proprietary relationships.

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St. Louis-based Centene has worked extensively on addressing SDOH over the years and has observed that organizations face a number of obstacles when working in this area, a Centene spokesperson said. For starters, most funding to tackle SDOH comes from grants and is not long-term. In addition, community organizations have limited capacity to work with healthcare providers and do not have standard processes that yield standard outcomes. On top of that, administrative complexities can be overwhelming.

“All of this adds up to there being a substantial gap in the marketplace,” Centene’s spokesperson says. “While there are some organizations providing basic connectivity for referrals, no one is truly bridging the gap to enable a sustainable financial model between health entities and community organizations.”

Social Health Bridge is designed to bridge the gap by contracting community organizations directly with health entities. “Social Health Bridge will have the ability to create scale and aggregate consumers that make it attractive to health entities,” the spokesperson says. “Instead of a health entity having to contract individually with community organizations and trying to ensure appropriate standards and practices are met, they will be able to contract with Social Health Bridge. Social Health Bridge will be able to develop value-based payments to ensure that health entities achieve the outcomes that matter to them.”

"When community and healthcare organizations begin to work together, they often face barriers to collaboration in the form of different terminology, dissimilar funding structures, administrative complexity, lack of payment arrangements and capacity limitations," says Michael Neidorff, chairman and CEO of Centene. "By bridging this gap, Social Health Bridge simplifies and accelerates the local partnerships needed to meaningfully and sustainably tackle the social determinants of health."

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