New Dell Med Initiative embeds health interventions into community programs.


According to a Dell Med press release, Factor Health was launched Monday by the UT Dell Medical School in Austin and Houston. It builds and tests health interventions not delivered in hospitals or clinics. All three partners have been signed on by Meals on Wheels Central Texas social service provider, Youth Rise Texas youth development organization and managed care payers Amerigroup Texas Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.

Mini Kahlon is the vice dean of Dell Med and executive director at Factor Health. It’s about helping all members of the health system – patients, investors, payers and academic medical centres – to see themselves and their roles in the health sector differently.

The Houston-based Episcopal Health Foundation launched Factor Health with a $2.6million investment. It works closely with community-based organizations to address non-medical aspects of health, such as food, transport, and social support, to develop solutions that improve its target population’s mental and physical health.

Factor Health matches community-based organizations to health care “payer partner” companies such as insurance companies interested in the desired health outcomes. The program funds a pilot program, which is evidence-based, for two years, to evaluate the effectiveness of health interventions.

“Factor Health is already a success in bringing together unusual partners who are thinking creatively regarding health outcomes,” stated Karen DeSalvo (Dell Med professor and former acting secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Now, the challenge is to show measurable improvements in health. I anticipate that payers across the country, as well as other academic medical centres, will be paying attention with interest.

Meals on Wheels Central Texas will deliver the first wave of health interventions, matched up with payer partner Amerigroup Texas and Youth Rise Texas, which are matched up with payer partner Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.

Meals on Wheels Central Texas, in addition to providing medically-tailored meals, will help older adults manage their diabetes at home. They will assess glucose levels and depression which are often associated with diabetes. Referrals may be made if necessary. This intervention will reduce hospitalizations and emergency room visits due to poorly managed diabetes. The assessment and program will start in January 2022.

Youth Rise Texas, a grassroots organization that helps young adults who have suffered from family trauma such as separation and criminalization, will use a peer-to-peer curriculum that combines leadership, learning, and youth development to reduce anxiety, depression, and ER visits for around 150 youth. The program will receive initial support in January 2022, and the complete program and assessment will begin in September 2022.

The payer partner will develop “payment models based upon outcomes” to support the scaling-up of the program if the program results prove successful after two years. The press release states, “Ultimately, the intention is for payer partners to be able to transition to long-term funders.”

Kahlon stated that there are many organizations today that contribute to better health. The problem is that the healthcare system does not pay them for it. This is where Factor Health, and our team at Dell Med, come in.”

According to Factor Health, two more partnerships will be announced in November 2022. They are focused on obesity and depression, as well as supporting recovery from heart disease.


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