How are Massachusetts Community-Based Organizations Responding to the Health Care Sector’s Entry into Social Determinants of Health?

November 30, 2018

In Massachusetts, MassHealth is implementing a number of reforms as part of its most recent Medicaid 1115 demonstration waiver extension to transform the delivery of care for most members and address the social determinants of health (SDOH). In light of the new interface between health care and social service delivery fostered by the MassHealth program redesign, it is important to understand how community-based organizations (CBOs) perceive the entry of health care organizations into their domains of social service delivery. While health care providers’ perspectives are frequently reported on, less is known about how CBOs view the opportunities and challenges associated with these new relationships.

This report aims to address this knowledge gap by summarizing the findings from a qualitative study that sought to better understand how CBOs are responding to the health care sector’s movement into SDOH programming in Massachusetts. Data was collected through 46 key informant interviews with CBO representatives from a range of social service sectors across the state. Informed by the study findings, this report outlines recommendations for health care leaders and policymakers to support the integration of health care and social service delivery.