Policy and Advocacy - Testimony

To:       The Honorable Vincent Gray, Chair, DC Council Committee on Health

            Members of the Committee on Health

From:   Patricia Quinn, Director of Policy and External Affairs, DC Primary Care Association

Re:       Performance and Oversight, Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services

Date:   March 5, 2018

 

The DC Primary Care Association works to build a healthier DC by strengthening safety net primary care, improving care coordination across sites of care, and improving access to health information for better health outcomes. Our partners in this work are community health centers serving 1 in 4 District residents in every ward of the city. What follows is DCPCA’s recommendation regarding performance and oversight of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.

 

DCPCA serves as the “backbone” support organization in DC PACT, a coalition of clinical, community support, and government partners focused on reframing the culture of health care delivery to address social needs. Our near-term strategic goals include standardizing social needs screening citywide and leveraging the development of the District’s health information exchange capacity to include bi-directional communication between community supports and clinical care. 

 

As DC PACT works toward our goals, we look forward to deep collaboration with the Deputy Mayor, who is uniquely situated to drive collaboration and integration of District agencies and programs focused on social drivers of health and on clinical care. In particular, we look for her support to ensure that health system behavioral health data is included in the rapidly growing District HIE. We seek her partnership to steer technology investments across departments to maximize interoperability and minimize duplication.

 

DC PACT’s vision for a seamless accountable health community that addresses unmet social needs to improve health and increase equity requires a radical rethinking of what “counts” as health care. Make no mistake; the work for affordable housing, healthy food, and income security is life-saving work, equal to heart surgery, cancer care, or HIV prevention.

 

The barriers to health equity in the District of Columbia require nothing short of our relentless commitment to every resident’s optimal health. The combined resources of the District’s government, non-profit, and business sectors must align for healthy housing, nutritious food, economic opportunity, and world class health care. We can make DC as known for positive health and wellbeing as we are for health coverage, but it requires fierce commitment to a common agenda, shared measures, and cross-sector accountability. DC PACT welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with the Deputy Mayor to build a Collective Impact initiative to realize that vision.