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 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.
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 $200 million for fiscal year 2021, of which $5 million may be used for administrative expenses.
- 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:
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: o 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.
- Leverages the existing 211 Connecticut, a program of the United Way of Connecticut, to provide a resource directory connecting local CBOs with area hospitals.
- 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.