Commonwealth Care Alliance partnered with The Boston Globe to host a panel discussion focused on improving health equity for Rhode Island residents. The conversation, which was moderated by CCA Rhode Island General Manager Corey McCarty, included CCA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert MacArthur, Rhode Island Public Health Institute Director Dr. Amy Nunn, and Lifespan Vice President of Community Health and Equity Carrie Bridges Feliz. CCA President of Markets Courtney Murphy also gave remarks.
The panel dove into the drivers of health disparities for Rhode Islanders, including inconsistent access to affordable health services and needs related to social determinants of health, such as healthy food and stable housing. The panel agreed that providers’ understanding of these inequities is improving, but there is a long way to go to improve results for patients. Dr. MacArthur cited a World Health Organization statistic that 30-40% of health outcomes are determined by social determinants of health.
Dr. MacArthur discussed CCA’s unique approach to care and its focus on meeting members where they are, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led CCA’s community-based model to become even more critical for members. MacArthur, along with the other panelists, noted the many hurdles to receiving care in traditional settings, and suggested an industry-wide may be necessary to properly address the healthcare needs of all Rhode Islanders.
“Healthcare in the United States revolves around what happens in the acute care setting, but that’s not what drives healthcare,” he said.
MacArthur also discussed the importance of a holistic view of each member’s needs and CCA’s emphasis on integrating services to provide seamless care, rather than operating in silos existent in much of the healthcare system.