Aligning for Health is proud to support the Leveraging Integrated Networks in Communities (LINC) to Address Social Needs Act (S. 509), which was introduced in Congress by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) on March 1, 2021.

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LINC to Address Social Needs Act

While there are regional pockets of community integrated network innovation, social service systems and the health care system are not generally connected in a sustainable, standardized way, which limits data sharing, shared accountability, and service coordination. These limitations make it difficult for states to promote coordinated service delivery and manage public health emergencies.

The LINC to Address Social Needs Act (S. 509) would establish statewide or regional partnerships to better coordinate health care and social services. States, through public-private partnerships, will leverage local expertise and technology to overcome longstanding challenges in helping to connect people to food, housing, child development, job training, and transportation supports and services.

For more information, see Bill Text, Section-by-section, One Pager and FAQ on LINC, along with Press Release from Senator Sullivan (R-AK), Press Release from Senator Murphy (D-CT), and Press Release from Aligning for Health.

Specifically, under LINC:

  • The Secretary of HHS will award grants on a competitive basis to States to support such States, through public-private partnerships, to establish new or enhance existing community integration network infrastructure through authorized activities. This would authorize $150 million for fiscal year 2022.

  • This one-time seed funding for states would facilitate cross-sector referrals, communication, service coordination and outcome tracking between social service providers and health care organizations by establishing or expanding secure, connected technology networks. States will have flexibility to design networks that are responsive to the unique cultures and needs of their state.

  • A State can use a grant to carry out activities and services to establish new or enhance existing community integration network infrastructure, on a statewide basis through direct network operations or collaborations among multiple associated entities, which may include such entities that operate regionally. Such activities and services include:

    • Establishing a new or enhancing an existing technology platform that:

      • Enables the coordination of public and private providers and payors of services for individuals in the State;

      • Prioritizes connectivity with, incorporation of, and partnership with any appropriate existing technology platforms developed by public or private organizations in the State; and

      • Ensures that reasonable measures are taken to promote connectivity among associated entities.

    • Connecting associated entities for purposes of communication, service coordination, referral management, outcome tracking, and related services;

    • Providing technical assistance and supporting associated entities in connecting and participating in the community integration network infrastructure;

    • Planning for and implementing actions designed to create sustainable funding models to support long-term access to community integration network infrastructure; and

    • Designing and implementing a financial structure to make the community integration network infrastructure financially self-sustaining.

The LINC Act’s framework has been successful in practice:

  • A particularly strong example of this work is currently underway in North Carolina, where a public-private partnership of state government, the United Way, private foundations, and tech vendors are showing the way though NCCARE360 — which connects CBOs and the state’s health system in a way similar to this proposal. NCCARE360 leverages partnerships that provide expertise in building the following components of the network:

    • A robust statewide resource directory which includes a call center with dedicated navigators, a data team verifying resources, and text and chat capabilities.

    • A community data repository that integrates multiple resource directories across the state and allows data sharing. The model will be extended to manage resources specific to the social determinants of health in North Carolina.

    • A shared technology platform that enables health and human services providers, community-based organizations, and others to send and receive electronic referrals, seamlessly communicate in real-time, securely share client information, and track outcomes.

  • Another example of this important work has started in Connecticut, where the Connecticut Hospital Association and its member systems are working with CBOs on a statewide coordinated care network of health and social service providers to deliver integrated care. The network uses a technology platform to better connect patients to local service agencies that help with housing, food, transportation, and employment services. This new statewide coordinated network:

    • Allows health providers and CBOs to send and receive secure referrals to connect individuals to services to address social needs.

    • Partners with 211 Connecticut, a program of the United Way of Connecticut and the state’s primary resource and referral platform, to connect to 211’s database of more than 4,000 CBOs.

    • Pilots at some Connecticut hospitals already are strengthening care coordination with local social service organizations, seeing positive results for patients, community organizations, and care providers.

Supporting Organizations

  • Aligning for Health
  • Alliance for Better Health
  • Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
  • American Association on Health and Disability
  • American Association of Service Coordinators 
  • 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
  • Families USA
  • Healthcare Leadership Council
  • HSBlox, Inc. 
  • Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) 
  • Lakeshore Foundation
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
  • MultiCare Health System 
  • National Alliance to impact the Social Determinants of Health (NASDOH)
  • National Association of ACOs
  • National Coalition on Health Care
  • Nemours Children’s Health System
  • Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation 
  • Population Health Alliance
  • Purchaser Business Group on Health
  • Signify Health
  • SNP Alliance
  • Socially Determined
  • TransUnion Healthcare
  • Unite Us
  • UPMC Health Plan
  • Well-being and Equity (WE) in the World
  • Well Being Trust 
  • Wholesome Wave