Tool to Assess Return-on-Investment for Coordinating Primary Medical Care and Social Services

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There is substantial evidence that the 5 percent of the population accounting for 50 percent of health care costs is likely to benefit from care delivery that integrates medical care with social services. In addition to providing a more streamlined patient experience and potentially better health outcomes, this approach potentially could lower the total cost of care. But for medical and social service organizations to adopt this model on a large scale, they will need to be convinced that their partnerships will yield financial benefits. With funding from the SCAN Foundation, health care economist Victor Tabbush, former dean of UCLA's Anderson School of Business, developed a return-on-investment (ROI) calculator that assesses overall financial returns for entities interested in investing in the integration of medical care and social services. Additional research and investment is needed, however, to improve the tool's usefulness for providers. Tabbush will construct a user-friendly online calculator that can measure ROI for organizations seeking to incorporate social services in primary care practice. He will improve upon the existing SCAN-funded calculator by: 1) enabling users to factor in different payment arrangements-including fee-for-service, capitation, and shared savings-to provide more sophisticated ROI analyses; and then 2) building in the capability to demonstrate how potential financial returns would be apportioned between the medical entity and the community-based organizations that deliver the social services. The financial algorithms and ROI calculations embedded in the calculator will undergo peer review to improve their validity. Feedback obtained from users of the existing calculator and interviews with leaders at community-based organizations and health systems will also inform development of the new tool. With the ability to estimate costs and savings from the integration of social services with care delivery, health care providers and social service organizations will have a tool for negotiating the financial arrangements required to provide holistic, person-centered care.

Grant Details

Grantee Organization:
Benzajen, Inc. (a.k.a. Victor Tabbush Consulting)
Principal Investigator:
Victor Tabbush, Ph.D.
Award Amount:
$153,645.00
Approval Date:
April 11, 2017

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