Written by: Diana Hembree
The Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC) is a healthcare powerhouse. It consists of 15 licensed health centers located in Los Angeles County’s San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys, both areas struggling with chronic illness and poverty.
As a Federally Qualified Health Center, the NEVHC provides comprehensive medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, nutrition, health education, care coordination and case management to more than 91,000 low-income, predominantly Latino patients, regardless of their ability to pay.
The staff of the Northeast Valley Health Corporation knew that healthcare didn’t just take place in a clinic. It was also influenced by their patients’ zip codes. Hunger, homelessness, neighborhood crime, immigration status, too few groceries selling fresh produce and other social problems all helped determine their patients’ health – or lack of it.
NEVHC executives knew they had to deal with those factors – known as “social determinants of health” (SDOH) – to give their patients the best shot at a healthy life. They handed out referrals along with a sheaf of papers. The question was, how could they more effectively link up their patients with potentially life-saving services?