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Kildee Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Connect Health and Social Services Improving Health Care

November 24, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today introduced the Leveraging Integrated Networks in Communities (LINC) to Address Social Needs Act to help health care and social service organizations better coordinate the care of our most vulnerable people. Congressman Kildee introduced the bipartisan legislation with Republicans Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08) and Democrat Congresswoman Lisa Blunt-Rochester (DE-At Large).

There is evidence that our physical and mental health can be impacted by social factors like access to housing, transportation and nutritious foods. There are obstacles, however, that make it difficult for community organizations that provide social services to connect with health care services to best address the social factors impacting health. 

The LINC to Address Social Needs Act would provide $150 million for grants to states to grow partnerships between health care and social service providers to improve people’s overall health care. This initial funding will direct states to enter into a public-private partnership that can manage community referral networks, support participating organizations, and track health outcomes. The bill also directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate the success of the networks, along with recommendations, in a report to Congress.

“There should be no wrong door to care,” said Congressman Kildee. “In Flint, we’ve seen how linking health care providers with social service providers can improve access to care in our community. This legislation will support and grow these kinds of partnerships to improve the health of communities in Michigan and across the country.”

“This legislation is an important step that will create state and local systems that improve the ability of community-based organizations and health systems to jointly support resident health and social needs,” said Kirk Smith, President & CEO of the Greater Flint Health Coalition. “Growing evidence shows that investing in sustainable, public-private partnerships can improve health outcomes of citizens by addressing the root causes of inequities and the social determinants of health. The Greater Flint Health Coalition applauds Congressman Kildee for his leadership in introducing this legislation and supporting this important community work.”

“The Michigan Association of United Ways is proud to support the Leveraging Integrated Networks in Communities (LINC) to Address Social Needs Act of 2021. This legislation will provide critical funding to support technological innovations that improve the integration, access, and impact of community resources that help Michiganders thrive. We are grateful to Congressman Kildee for his leadership on this innovation to improve the integration, access and impact of community resources,” said Mike Larson, President and CEO of Michigan Association of United Ways. 

“As an organization dedicated to catalyzing the change that will break down the barriers between health and social service organizations, we applaud Representatives Kildee, Walorski, Blunt Rochester, and Hudson for their leadership in introducing the LINC to Address Social Needs Act,” said Melissa Quick, co-chair of Aligning for Health. “The bill will help to build and expand shared community resource referral networks, helping to improve coordination between the health care and social service sectors. Aligning for Health looks forward to the passage of this exciting legislation.”

“The bipartisan LINC to Address Social Needs Act will help families to navigate social services available in each state. Connecting local social services and health care providers in our community will streamline opportunities to uplift individuals and families while responsibly stewarding resources,” said Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02). “This public-private partnership approach will spur collaboration, optimize support in our community, and expand Hoosiers’ access to quality care and services close to home.”

“Helping health care providers and social services work together through public-private partnerships can save lives. I’m proud to introduce the LINC to Address Social Needs Act that builds on the success of North Carolina’s NCCARE360 by connecting providers and patients with much-needed technology and resources. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this critical piece of bipartisan legislation,” said Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08).

“Too often, Americans lack access to affordable housing, healthy food, transportation, and other basic services that impact health, but they don’t know where to turn for help. At the same time, health care and social service providers lack the infrastructure to communicate, coordinate, and track outcomes for their patients. I am proud to be working with my colleagues on the LINC to Address Social Needs Act, which will help communities across the country efficiently coordinate service delivery through technology to increase access to critical social services and holistically improve health outcomes,” said Rep. Lisa Blunt-Rochester (DE-At Large).

This legislation is supported by the Greater Flint Health Coalition, Michigan Association of United Ways, Michigan 211, the Michigan Health Information Network, the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, and Aligning for Health. 

In July 2021, Congressman Kildee secured a grant to support efforts to reduce health disparities in mid-Michigan by expanding access to nutritious foods and expanding chronic disease prevention programs. Congressman Kildee is also a cosponsor of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, empowering states and local governments to improve health outcomes by addressing the economic and social conditions in which people live, learn, work and play.