Why One Nonprofit Wants Financial Skills Taught In Community Health Centers | KERA News

Why One Nonprofit Wants Financial Skills Taught In Community Health Centers

Nov 15, 2016

There’s a strong correlation between physical health and socio-economic status.

The Corporation For Enterprise Development— a Washington D.C. based nonprofit — recommends bringing financial services, like budget coaching and free tax preparation, into community health centers. CFED's Parker Cohen explains why.

Parker Cohen:

…on why just 50 percent of health outcomes are determined by behaviors, genetics and care: “About 50 percent of our health outcomes are attributable to the conditions in which we work and live. And these include such factors as housing, education, workplace conditions and socio-economic status. These have a really outsized effect on our health outcomes and we don’t always think of them as such.”

…on financial barriers to healthy living: “We know that 14 percent of adults last year did not see a doctor because of cost. It’s a big problem and just the complexity of your life when you’re in poverty and close to it and living day to day and struggling with finances makes it really difficult to take advantage of adequate healthcare, maintain prescription regimens and do so many of the things that help make you healthy. Your choices are only as good as the options available to you and so many folks that live and work in substandard conditions just do not have access to things that lead to a healthier life and this has really dire consequences to population health overall.”

...on bringing financial services into community health centers: “Community Health Centers, otherwise known as federally qualified health centers, serve about 24 million patients a year.   Ninety percent of these patients are below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and these community health centers provide a full suite of health services including primary, mental and dental healthcare. They also really serve as community hubs, they host events, provide wraparound services such as legal services, youth programs. And because of the patients they serve and the trusted relationship they hold with these patients and their communities it really serves as a good opportunity to deliver these financial capability services such as financial coaching or benefits enrollment or credit building, all of these can help improve patients’ financial lives and reduce stress overall.”

Read the full CFED brief here.