The Client Challenge
The community served by Memorial Hermann Southwest (MHSW) is incredibly vibrant, with over 85 languages spoken across a diverse, growing population and a robust ecosystem of community-based organizations, universities, and small businesses. Southwest Houston faces significant health and wellbeing disparities across many social determinants of health (SDOH). As is true nationally, needs align dramatically along racial lines, with Black residents experiencing some of the poorest outcomes.
For MHSW, this situation posed two challenges. First, a high rate of potentially preventable hospitalizations, paired with low rates of insurance, posed a severe financial strain to the institution. Second, as an Anchor Institution, MHSW is committed to improving the health of Southwest Houston’s most underserved residents and to broadly uplifting the Southwest Houston community through place-based initiatives. It sought to significantly advance and expand these efforts to meet growing needs.
CHALLENGES FACING THE SOUTHWEST HOUSTON COMMUNITY:
17-year gap in life expectancy between Black residents vs. white residents
45% rate of uninsurance vs. 9% nationally
40% of residents experience food insecurity or barriers to seeking medical care due to lack of transportation
60% of ED visits and 30% of hospitalizations by uninsured residents were potentially avoidable
Navigating to Next: The Solution
MHSW and system leadership undertook a comprehensive planning effort with the help of The Chartis Group to shape and execute an innovative, community-focused strategic plan. Chartis helped MHSW understand analogous efforts that systems undertake nationally to drive community change, which span a spectrum from more asset-light, SDOH-focused solutions to more acute care, asset-heavy-focused solutions, oftentimes with coordination across multiple stakeholders. Chartis also enabled MHSW to create strategies customized to Southwest Houston.