February 25, 2021

Aligning for Health is proud to support the introduction of the Leveraging Integrated Networks in Communities (LINC) to Address Social Needs Act (S. 509), bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Chris Murphy (D-CT).

The LINC to Address Social Needs Act will assist states in building statewide or regional collaborations to better coordinate health care and social services by leveraging local expertise and technology to help connect people to food, housing, child development, job training, and transportation supports and services.

These and other social challenges have been proven to have clear implications on wellbeing and on population health. However, today’s health and social services systems and services are largely siloed. Investments to better align and coordinate between health care and social service providers will yield better, more holistic health outcomes, reduce preventable health costs, and keep the most vulnerable populations from falling through the cracks.

The LINC to Address Social Needs Act will provide one-time seed funding for states to facilitate cross-sector communication, service coordination and consumer assistance, referral and capacity management, and outcome tracking between social service providers and health care organizations. States, through public private partnerships, may establish or expand existing secure, connected technology networks and provide technical assistance and support to entities in connecting to the network. States will have flexibility to design networks that are responsive to the unique cultures and needs of their state. After the initial startup period, these self-sustaining public-private partnerships will serve as a nexus for coordinated efforts to address social and health needs regionally and across states.

This bill will create a new and unprecedented ability to share data and measure the impact of social interventions on health, health care spending, and community wellbeing. It will also allow health and social service organizations to better coordinate care and ensure maximum impact for available resources.

“As an organization dedicated to catalyzing the change that will break down the barriers between health and social service organizations, we applaud Senators Sullivan and Murphy for their leadership in introducing the LINC to Address Social Needs Act,” said Melissa Quick, co-chair of Aligning for Health. “The legislation will help to build and expand shared community resource referral networks, helping to improve coordination between the health care and social service sectors. Aligning for Health looks forward to the passage of this exciting legislation.”

The LINC to Address Social Needs Act has been endorsed by several organizations, including: Aligning for Health, Alliance for Better Health, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, AMGA, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Council on Social Work Education, Healthcare Leadership Council, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), National Association of ACOs, National Coalition on Health Care, Nemours Children’s Health System, Purchaser Business Group on Health, Signify Health, SNP Alliance, Unite Us, UPMC Health Plan, Well-being and Equity (WE) in the World, and Well Being Trust.

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Endorsing Statements

“The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) enthusiastically supports the Leveraging Integrated Networks in Communities (LINC) to Address Social Needs Act and urges its swift adoption by Congress. This legislation not only makes critical investments in multi-sector coordination and collaboration to address the social determinants of health but also takes the important step of welcoming community-based organizations into the fold. These organizations have the knowledge and relationships that are critical to implement solutions that the LINC structure can advance.” – Julia Ryan, Vice President, Health Initiatives, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

“Access, coverage and quality only matter when we break down barriers to care and address the social factors influencing health care delivery,” said John Lovelace, President of UPMC for You and of Government Programs and Individual Advantage Products for UPMC Health Plan, “By providing states with the right tools to connect health with human services, the LINC Act will help deliver meaningful, measurable improvements in communities impacted by longstanding health care inequities and disparities.”

“Our surroundings have a deep impact on our health, which is why we need to better coordinate care and community resources across health and social services providers to improve overall health and advance health equity,” said Justine Handelman, senior vice president of the Office of Policy and Representation for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “We strongly support the LINC to Address Social Needs Act, which will help to catalyze additional coordination and break down barriers to care.”

Signify Health applauds Senators Sullivan (AK) and Murphy (CT) for introducing the Leveraging Integrated Networks in Communities (LINC) to Address Social Needs Act. This legislation would establish statewide or regional partnerships to better coordinate health and social care services while leveraging innovative technology to connect people to their local resources for food, housing, transportation and other support programs. As a company that enables outcomes-focused networks to address social determinants of health, we believe this legislation is an important step to closing gaps in care and overcoming care coordination barriers.

“Research increasingly points to the important role of the social determinants of health, or the conditions in the places people live, learn, work, and play, which affect approximately 80 percent of patient health outcomes. While it is critical to recognize and understand the impact of social determinants of health, it’s even more important to develop solutions to address these key factors,” said American Medical Association President Susan R. Bailey, M.D. “The AMA applauds Senators Sullivan and Murphy for introducing the Leveraging Integrated Networks in Communities (LINC) to Address Social Needs Act as it develops actionable solutions via grants and public-private partnerships to better connect physicians and other health care providers to social services organizations that help patients overcome long standing challenges associated with social determinants of health.”

“It is more important now than ever, in the face of nationwide COVID-19 related health and social challenges, that we make critical investments in child and family health,” said Kara Odom Walker, MD, MPH, MSHS, EVP, the Chief Population Health Officer at Nemours Children’s Health System. “The LINC to Address Social Needs Act would make such an investment in technology infrastructure to connect health care and community social service organizations, addressing the growing need for whole-child and whole-family care.”

“Advancing value-based payment in health care, which is sorely needed, will require addressing patients’ housing, transportation and nutrition needs. The LINC Act takes important steps to integrate important social services and health care, which has been separated for far too long. NAACOS is proud to support this legislation.” – Clif Gaus, Sc.D, president and CEO of the National Association of ACOs

“LINC addresses the crucial need to finance local infrastructure for the health-social service ecosystem, under the key condition that it be built and governed to reflect the public-private partnerships we will need to make genuine SDOH progress in our diverse country.” – Len M. Nichols, Professor Emeritus, George Mason University