SDOH - social determinants of health - vector infographic illustration

Elaena Price, Director of Health Information, HIPAA Privacy & Security Officer

Mountain Family Health Centers received the UHC Rocky Mountain Health Plans Healthy Neighborhoods SDoH grant in March 2023.  Social Determinants of Health are non-medical factors that patients face that influence their health outcomes.  We were very excited to be awarded $30,000 to address social determinant of health disparities over the next year. 

Our internal goal was to really dig in and help our patients overcome some of these barriers.  We wanted to address the following:

  • Reliable transportation.
  • Cost of admission to youth sports fees, gym memberships and park passes.
  • Technology or subscriptions used to access high speed internet.

As the grant states in its name, we wanted to help our patients get healthy and active.  Mountain Family was able to pay for 48 recreation center passes.  Our patients were able to have access to be able to swim, join exercise classes and access to work out equipment. 

Transportation was chosen as the next area of focus. Without reliable transportation, our patients are unable to attend their medical, dental, or behavioral health appointments.  We were able to assist multiple patients with car batteries, tires, small car repairs, gas cards, bus passes, and adult bicycles.

The technology portion of this grant was important to us; we used it to purchase tablets and assist in paying for our patients’ internet.  Access to care can be challenging for many reasons.  This can include social anxiety, not having childcare, clinic hours and again, reliable transportation to name a few.  Therefore, patients having technology to be able to have virtual visits as an alternative is very important. This technology also allows patients to enroll in their patient portal where they can communicate with their providers, request refills and have access to their medical records. 

To determine what barriers that patients were facing, Mountain Family Health Centers began screening all patients to determine their SDoH needs.  Our screenings include questions on housing stability, and problems with their housing, such as pests, mold, lack of heat, smoke detectors. We asked our patients if they have reliable transportation, electricity, and if our patients had enough food until their next payday. If patients were positive for these needs, the Community Resource team then connected them with community partners to assist in short- and long-term solutions. 

The grant has ended now but Mountain Family is committed to assisting our patients in achieving whole health outcomes.  We continue to screen our patients and assist in connecting them with our community partners.