Rethinking Health and Wellness

VP of Wellness Jane Bavinaeu shares how BakerRipley is looking at current health care trends, what factors influences health and community wellness programs.

By Jane Bavineau, BakerRipley’s VP of Health and Wellness

BakerRipley commits to providing programs and services that are responsive to the needs and aspirations of our neighbors

We stay on top of what’s important to our neighbors by:

  • Regularly implementing the Appreciative Community Building processes that include surveys, focus groups, town hall meetings, etc
  • Routinely conducting environmental scans to learn about major trends that may impact their lives and create opportunity for us to respond to their needs and aspirations.

One of the most relevant and critical trends right now is related to health care.

Major Trends in Health Care

The United States is spending trillions of dollars on health care, nearly 20% of the GDP. That’s more than most other developed countries.

The high cost of health care is unsustainable. Experts are focusing on how we can reduce these costs.

Many of the strategies for reducing costs are related to how we pay for health care. Other strategies are about investing more on “prevention” instead of the current focus which is almost exclusively on “sick care”.

In order to evaluate what strategies work best, we first need to examine what health and wellness really mean.

What Impacts Health & What Actually Gets Paid For

Clearly, going to the doctor, taking your medications, etc – “Clinical Care” – is important to maintaining good health.

However, Clinical Care only accounts for about 20% of what allows someone to be healthy.

The other factors – Social Determinants of Health – that impact how healthy someone is include things like education, employment, housing, air quality, water quality, and personal behaviors like smoking, diet and exercise, and alcohol use.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of our health care dollars go to Clinical Care, and very little is spent on these other Social Determinants.

Compared to other developed countries, the United States spends dramatically more on “medical care” than on “social care”.

Despite the amount we are spending on healthcare, the United States has the worst health outcomes among developed countries.

What’s This Got to do with BakerRipley

With the increased recognition of the importance of the Social Determinants of Health, we examined the various programs and services BakerRipley currently provides and discovered that we cover every area in the SDH space.

BakerRipley’s list of programs organized by each of the Six Determinants of Health.

This creates opportunity for us to look at different ways of working to address the health and wellness concerns of our neighbors. As we look ahead, we will continue to scan the region and adjust to the needs of the people we serve.