New Brief: Partnerships to Address Social Needs across Metropolitan and Non-Metropolitan Prospective Payment System Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals

This policy brief used American Hospital Association (AHA) survey data to examine partnerships between hospitals and external organizations to address social needs. Hospitals were stratified by rurality (metropolitan or non-metropolitan) and type—prospective payment system (PPS) or critical access hospital (CAH) as well as by region, ownership status and accountable care organization (ACO) participation. We calculated a partnership score for all hospitals reflective of the number of types of partnerships and the number of ways that hospital partner to address social needs with scores ranging from 0 to 48. We also assessed what types of specific partnerships hospitals indicated.  Key findings are noted below:

  • The highest mean community partnership scores were seen in metropolitan PPS hospitals (24.0), followed by non-metropolitan PPS hospitals (20.4) and CAHs (16.8).
  • Except for non-metropolitan PPS hospitals in the West, the Northeast had the highest mean partnerships across hospital types.
  • Regardless of geography or type (CAH or PPS), non-profit hospitals and those participating in ACOs had higher mean partnership scores.

Most hospitals had partnerships with state and local agencies, though compared to other types of hospitals, a higher proportion of metropolitan PPS hospitals had partnerships with organizations that address specific social needs (e.g., food insecurity).

Authors:  Whitney E. Zahnd, PhD; Khyathi Gadag, MHA; Kristin D. Wilson, PhD, MHA; Keith J. Mueller, PhD

Contact Information: Lead Author: Whitney Zahnd, PhD;