The Community Health Network (CHN) targets the socioeconomic determinants of health that are not typically addressed in a health care system. The program functions in three complementary areas: (1) providing tools and resources to create a healthier environment; (2) connecting members with education, community resources and primary care to reduce risk of chronic disease; and (3) mobilizing trained volunteer liaisons to meet the nonmedical needs of their ill or hospitalized members. The CHN collaborates with organizations to educate and provide help for members in navigating the health care system. It operates on the premise that people heal better when they feel a sense of connection, compassion and care from those within their own communities.
The program provides underlying support and enhancement for the care model redesign being piloted in the health system. The CHN empowers volunteers at community organizations to provide basic nonclinical support for stress-inducing issues such as caring for pets, household chores, groceries and meals, as well as providing emotional support. This patient-centered network strives to improve patient outcomes and reduce readmissions and preventable mortality.