2018 President’s Message from Ginger Zielinskie
The past year, 2017, offered 365 days of learning and insights. Research has long proven that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a critical program in the fight on poverty and hunger—it increases household income, it improves educational attainment, and it generates revenue for low-income communities. In 2017, BDT and partners generated further evidence that SNAP also improves health, helps older adults age in place, and lowers healthcare costs.
Now that we understand that SNAP reduces the likelihood of hospital and nursing home admissions, saving an average of $2,100 per year in health care costs for seniors, we must do more. In 2018, BDT is excited for the year ahead and will continue to work to proactively enroll eligible individuals into SNAP and other benefits, streamline and improve the systems in which individuals enroll, and work across sectors to develop an integrated health and human services system in order to help individuals improve their health, financial and social outcomes.
Maximize enrollment into SNAP and other benefits — Conservatively, there are an estimated 9 million households in the United States on Medicaid, not on SNAP – this is unacceptable. BDT commits to continuing to work with partners in government and the healthcare sector to use data available to connect health and social programs in order to improve outcomes. Maximizing access to benefits and services that already exist is a vital and important strategy as we look ahead and align the health and human services sector.
Streamline and improve the way in which people access benefit and services — Direct service delivery is not enough. In order to move the needle and reduce the prevalence of poverty in this country it is necessary to re-engineer processes and change policies so that people are able to connect easily to the essential services that will move them along their pathway towards economic stability. Armed with expertise in policy, data-science, and technology, BDT will continue to collaborate with government partners to simplify access and better connect key social service programs, focusing on evidence based programs that help support people on a pathway to economic stability and financial independence.
Develop an integrated health and human services system — The needs of individuals and families are complex. No one program or service is a magic bullet, rather, a web of interconnected services that help people meet their needs over time to gain stability that is necessary to best support individuals and families. In 2018, BDT looks forward to ongoing experimentation to better understand how different populations are best served, what combinations of services and supports are most effective in improving outcomes, and how health and human service delivery systems should best work in concert to improve outcomes.
Armed with the evidence that access to SNAP and other benefits are a key solution to improved health, social and financial outcomes, BDT is primed and ready to take action. We have long relied on our partners, across sectors, to help us innovate and create impact. If you or your organization have ideas and a desire to engage, please connect with us.