Having enough food to eat, money to pay the bills, and a safe place to call home is essential for good health. That’s why Kaiser Permanente launched the Kaiser Permanente Community Support Hub.
After years of work to understand and address social factors that affect our members’ health, Kaiser Permanente created the hub — consisting of a free, self-service, online resource directory, and more. It enables Kaiser Permanente to proactively screen more members for social needs and connect those who need support to community-based resources and government assistance programs.
In 2022, Kaiser Permanente screened millions of members for social health needs — asking, for example, if they needed help paying rent, accessing healthy food, or securing other essentials that lead to good health. We then connected more than 170,000 members to community-based resources. Kaiser Permanente will continue to expand that support through the hub, with the goal of serving every member who wants social needs assistance within the next few years.
The Kaiser Permanente Community Support Hub is accessible anytime for anyone seeking help with basic needs — members and nonmembers alike — to explore and connect with social services and assistance programs in their communities.
The hub also includes a call center and community resource referral assistance. If members need help finding and connecting to local programs or enrolling in community-based services and government programs, they can call specialists who are dedicated to understanding their needs and matching them to the appropriate services.
Kaiser Permanente will use multiple channels — including email, telephone, and text — to provide support for members’ social health needs. The hub will facilitate that support by using enhanced technology to reach out to members, prompt screenings and connections to resources, and follow up to ensure members’ needs are being met. The hub will be an additional resource for care and service teams across Kaiser Permanente to refer members who screen positive for social needs support.
“Many people need more than high-quality medical care to stay healthy, which is why we’re continuing to support our members beyond clinical walls to seamlessly connect them to the community resources they need to live healthy, thriving lives,” said Bechara Choucair, MD, senior vice president and chief health officer at Kaiser Permanente. “We’re a trusted partner in our members’ lives, and we’re immensely excited to launch the Community Support Hub that expands our ability to address the social health needs of the communities we serve.”
Unmet social needs affect health and well-being.
In 2020, Kaiser Permanente surveyed over 10,000 members to learn whether they were struggling to meet their basic needs. At the time, 63% of our members had at least 1 social risk factor — such as financial strain or food insecurity — that impacted their health.
In 2022, we reached out to those same 10,000 members and found that 68% of Kaiser Permanente members have at least 1 social need, and nearly 20% have more than 3 — with financial strain, lack of social connection, food insecurity, and housing instability identified as significant concerns. Additionally, members with any social need were 6 times more likely to report fair or poor mental/emotional health and 3 times more likely to report fair or poor physical health.
These results show us how social health continues to be an inflection point that — as our programs grow and reach more people — could play a significant role in improving health and health equity.
“Even when members have their basic needs met, unexpected hardships, such as an illness or job loss, make it challenging to live a safe, secure, healthy life,” said Nolan Chang, MD, executive vice president of strategy, corporate development, and finance for The Permanente Federation. “There are many social factors that can affect the health of our members, and that’s why it’s so critical to ensure they get connected to the resources they need.”