A health care community that serves northern Vermont has been selected to join a national initiative that promotes holistic public health partnerships.
The Caledonia and South Essex Accountable Health Community is one of six communities around the country that has been selected to be part of the Bridging for Health Initiative.
It is designed to take the emphasis off acute treatment of illness. Instead, the focus is on community care and prevention through partnerships with social services.
Dr. Jim Hester is an advisor for states working on this concept. He says actual medical care only accounts for about 10 percent of the determinants of what keeps people healthy.
“In order to address that issue, you need to have an organization or an entity that says, ‘We're going to take the accountability, we're going to take the responsibility for monitoring and improving the health of the population of that area,’” Hester says.
The Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury has already partnered with local schools and the Vermont Foodbank, among others, to expand its care.
Update 1:00 p.m. Thursday June 1, 2017: This article has been updated to reflect that six communities were selected to be part of the Bridging for Health Initiative, not five.