Lucy Zielinski
Lucy Zielinski

Several years ago, I was working with a client reviewing quality and cost measures when we identified an individual who was a “frequent flyer,” or high utilizer, of the emergency department (ED). Upon further investigation, we learned that this person was seeking shelter and a hot meal, and he found the ED to be the best place to access both.

Each time this individual visited the ED and the providers asked him what was ailing him, he would vaguely declare, “I have pain!” It took many conversations to get to the root of his suffering: homelessness.

His misuse of the ED posed a problem to the healthcare providers who tended to his needs each time he paid a visit because it inflated the cost, or the medical spend, for this patient. They were running unnecessary tests on his behalf.

It’s not only about providing medical intervention, but addressing the other mental, social, and economic factors a person may be grappling with—what we in the industry commonly refer to as social determinants of health.

The medical group, specifically the care manager, stepped in and quickly improved the situation by helping him find temporary housing and meals, spending just $10 per day to meet his basic needs. It takes interventions of this kind to holistically manage patient care: It’s not only about providing medical intervention, but addressing the other mental, social, and economic factors a person may be grappling with—what we in the industry commonly refer to as social determinants of health.

Holiday card from Lumina Health PartnersIt is in this vein that Lumina Health Partners is proud to support Breakthrough Urban Ministries by making a donation this holiday season to help the nonprofit continue its work of fighting generational poverty in the East Garfield Park neighborhood in Chicago.

Groups like these positively impact the work we do in the healthcare industry because they address the physical and mental health of people in need. More health systems could partner with such groups to better serve their communities and improve access to care, as well as improve the quality of care their populations receive, with an eye toward lowering the cost of care for all.

The team at Lumina Health Partners is grateful to be able to make this donation in service of the industry we love and engage with daily. It’s just one small way we are working to make healthcare better for all.

Best wishes from all of us at Lumina Health Partners for a very happy—and healthy—holiday season and New Year. We look forward to working with you in 2019.

Lucy Zielinski is managing partner for Lumina Health Partners.