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Cross-Sectoral Partnerships By Area Agencies On Aging: Associations With Health Care Use And Spending

This January 2018 research article, published in the prestigious Health Affairs  journal, is the first of its kind to show a definitive association between the characteristics and activities of a large sample of Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and health outcomes in the AAAs’ Planning and Service Areas.  AAA’s suite of social support services can positively impact the social determinants of health (SDOH) that have the greatest impact on people’s  quality of life, health, and health care utilization and costs.

Specifically, the study found that counties whose AAAs maintained informal partnerships with a broad range of organizations in health care and other sectors had significantly lower hospital readmission rates, compared to counties whose AAAs had informal partnerships with fewer types of organizations. Counties whose AAAs had programs to divert older adults from nursing home placement had significantly lower avoidable nursing home use, compared to counties whose AAAs lacked such programs. As unnecessary readmissions and nursing home placements represent a major driver of wasteful and inefficient health care spend, these results suggest that partnering with AAAs can be an effective strategy for health care payers and providers looking to improve patient experience, bolster health outcomes, and boost their bottom line.

 

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Cross-Sectoral Partnerships By Area Agencies On Aging: Associations With Health Care Use And Spending (PDF)