Kimberly Backey, MCC Manager of Cultural Competency & Diversity Initiatives and members of the MCC Board of Managers welcome Denard Cummings, Director, NYS DOH Bureau of Social Determinants of Health, and NYS Team Members Jordan Fitzgerald, Program Analyst; Jahmel Robinson, Program Analyst; and Matthew de Waal Malefyt, Program Analyst to Buffalo for a dynamic day of meetings and discussions on Social Determinants of Health and Value Based Payment.

By Lydia Bernatovicz

Social determinants of health—from housing status to support systems—are quickly becoming an increasing focus for providers and community-based organizations striving to improve health outcomes for their patients and clients. As part of that initiative, the New York State Department of Health has created the Bureau of Social Determinants of Health, a department specifically working to mitigate those social determinants, and improve health outcomes throughout the state.

Early in August, Millennium Collaborative Care (MCC) hosted Denard Cummings, Director of the New York State Bureau of Social Determinants of Health, and his team including Harrison Moss, Director of the State Partnership Initiative; Kristen Pergolino, Deputy Director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Prevention; and New York State Department of Health Program Analysts Jahmel K. Robinson, Matthew de Waal Malefyt, and Jordan Fitzgerald, The team engaged in a day of presentations and discussions with MCC partners focused on social determinants of health and the shift to Value Based Payment, including meetings with MCC Board Members; members of the African American Health Disparities Task Force; and discussions with over 100 partners from Erie and the surrounding counties representing behavioral health organizations; hospitals; primary care;  managed care organizations (MCO); leadership team members from fellow Performing Provider System (PPS) Community Partners of WNY (CPWNY); community based organizations and Millennium Collaborate Care (MCC) staff.

Focus: Community Based Organizations
According to Kim Backey, Manager of Cultural Competency & Diversity Initiatives, who organized the event at Millennium, Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) and social determinants of health go hand in hand.

“Millennium would like to thank Denard Cummings, Harrison Moss and their team of experts for returning to Buffalo,” said Kim Backey, “Their expertise on the Social Determinants of Health and Value Based Payment (VBP) provided additional insight on how and why Community Based Organizations are so valuable in the VBP World. CBO’s are non-profit organizations that are both representative of the community, and work to educate or support the community in some way. They work at the local level and provide services for those in the community that need assistance. As the healthcare system moves forward with VBP, Millennium is working to ensure that CBO’s have the understanding, education, and the resources needed to take part in VBP.

“New York’s Path to Value Based Payment is unique in that it requires VBP Contractors to contract with at least one Tier 1 CBO focusing on social determinants of health,” Kim continued. “This means the organization is not-for-profit and does not bill Medicaid. These organizations are typically food banks or religious organizations. For example, local Tier 1 CBO’s in Buffalo that met with Denard Cummings and his team included Population Health Collaborative, Buffalo Urban League, and Jewish Family Services.”“

Visit Agenda
There were several sessions throughout the day that discussed Value Based Payment and the impact the Social Determinants of Health (food access, housing, and transportation) have on Medicaid populations. Most were broadcast via webinars so that partners who were unable to attend could access the presentations.

The morning started with a breakfast with Millennium’s Governance Board and Leadership, photo above, and moved into a presentation to MCO’s, Government Representatives and Behavioral Health CBO’s.  Strategies for creating partnerships between their various groups was the focus of the discussion.

The second event was a discussion with the African American’s Health Disparities Task Force (AAHDTF), photos above, which is a group dedicated to directly addressing race-based health disparities in the Greater Buffalo area.

For the final session of a most dynamic day, the NYS DOH SDH Team met with members of the MCC Community Based Organizations Task Force (photos above). The Team clarified and answered how the Community Based Organizations can play a strong role in improving health outcomes; and engaged in great discussion enabling the CBOs to understand how implementing VBP may be structured. In the afternoon, the CBO Task Force was also invited to view a presentation by Program Analysts Jahmel K. Robinson and Jordan Fitzgerald about the role of CBO’s as the Path to Value Based Payment continues.

MCC leadership took a lunch time break in action to give a “Buffalo Thank You!” to Denard Cummings and Program Analysts Matthew de Waal Malefyt; Jordan Fitzgerald and Jahmel Robinson.

“It was an incredible opportunity to form partnerships between different organizations and allow the state to explain the new programs and funding opportunities available,” concluded Kim Backey. “We look forward to working closely with the Mr. Cummings as we shift to Value Based Payment.”

Harrison Moss, Director of the State Partnership Initiative

Presentations (screen shots above) by Denard Cummings, Director, NYS DOH Bureau of Social Determinants of Health and Team from their Aug. 7, 2018 visit to Buffalo are available under Resources on the Millennium website. Please CLICK HERE to access.

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