One of the primary ways to increase the capital absorption capacity of a place is to expand the boundaries of the set of stakeholders who participate in the community investment system. In March, the Center published a paper that explored how hospitals and health systems participate in community investment activities by thinking broadly about their roles and resources.
Our research suggested that only a small number of health institutions are actively investing—with the expectation of a financial return—in improving the determinants of health. Over the course of this year, we’ve been focused on understanding the following questions:
- What would it look like if health institutions considered investing in the determinants of health a strategic imperative—a necessary part of their work to remain competitive?
- Who are the key decision makers who determine whether to invest in the upstream determinants of health and what are the considerations that matter to them?
- What are the full range of resources a health institution may be able to use, and what are the constraints, return expectations, and level of risk for each of those sources of funds?
As part of an ongoing effort to answer these questions, we convened a roundtable of health institution experts in mid-September, which surfaced two important themes.