Growing national research on the social determinants of health suggests that access to quality health care contributes only 20% to an individual’s overall health and well-being, while social risk factors, behaviors, and physical environment contribute 80%.
Growing national research on the social determinants of health suggests that access to quality health care contributes only 20% to an individual’s overall health and well-being, while social risk factors, behaviors, and physical environment contribute 80%. All Mainers should have the opportunity to attain their full health potential, regardless of their circumstances. This is the very definition of health equity! While medical providers manage the clinical, physical, and mental health complexities of patients with multiple chronic conditions, these same patients struggle to navigate the intricate array of community-based services that they need in order to thrive in their communities. To address these challenges, Healthy Living for ME® (HL4ME®) is emerging as Maine’s Community Care Hub, building a bridge between healthcare and a network of existing and growing community-based organizations.
HL4ME was founded in 2016 as a joint venture between Aroostook Area Agency on Aging, SeniorsPlus, and Spectrum Generations. Its initial focus was on health promotion and disease prevention by expanding access to and availability of evidence-based programming for falls prevention and chronic disease self-management education (i.e., “Matter of Balance, Living well with Chronic Pain, and National Diabetes Prevention Program,” etc.). Since its inception, over 5,500 people have participated in its programs - coaching and classes - through a network of 25 partners. The Community Care Hub concept has the support of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Administration on Community Living (ACL). In fact, in 2022, HL4ME received funding from the ACL to begin development as a Community Care Hub.
As a Community Care Hub, HL4ME coordinates and integrates healthcare (hospitals, insurers, healthcare systems, etc.) with community-based organizations (CBOs). This administrative approach achieves operational efficiency, effectiveness, and economies of scale inherent in an organized network delivery model. HL4ME networks and integrates CBO activities and missions with healthcare, thereby making them more effective in serving the people of Maine.
HL4ME offers Health Promotion and Disease Prevention via a statewide network of facilitators/leaders at local CBOs for in-person and virtual coaching. Through contracts with healthcare entities, HL4ME provides short- and long-term social care coordination for Mainers who have been identified or have self-identified as needing specialized and closely managed support and community service navigation assistance. In 2022, HL4ME assisted 856 patients in social care coordination.