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Toledo, OH – Holistic care management company, achi, LLC (achi), drives positive change in people’s lives and reduces overall costs by addressing social determinants of health. Through various community partnerships, achi works with businesses to equip them to educate the people they serve and connect them with resources in the community to improve their lives from the ground up, while positively impacting a business’s bottom-line.

“The Root Cause Coalition is pleased to welcome achi into our membership”, said Barbara Petee, Executive Director of The Root Cause Coalition. “Without alignment and commitment from all sectors, including the private business sector, it will be impossible to achieve health equity. We applaud the efforts of achi to help organizations across the country address social determinants of health, and we look forward to working with achi to advance our shared goals.”

“One of the keys to addressing social determinants of health is cross-sector collaboration,” says Hayley Studer, Founder and CEO of achi. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the social and health inequities across our communities. The Root Cause Coalition does an incredible job of bringing together diverse entities to creatively work toward common solutions to address social determinants of health issues. Being able to share best practices and learn from what other organizations have done in their communities is invaluable to the membership. As a private-sector business, it also allows us to share a slightly different perspective with the rest of the members and key stakeholders.”

According to Studer, “Only through creative solutions and partnerships can achi’s mission of ‘changing lives, transforming healthcare’ be reached. Membership in The Root Cause Coalition and its resulting resources allows achi to better educate health systems, educational institutions and corporations to invest in their people and drive successful, sustainable outcomes, while ultimately reducing costs. The advocacy arm of The Root Cause Coalition also gives members a platform to share data and advocate for true payment policy and other healthcare reforms, which is ultimately needed for a sustainable healthcare system in the future.”

About achi

achi is a holistic care management company that lowers overall expenses by actively engaging people and connecting them to organizations to address the social determinants of health. Through innovative partnerships, cross-sector collaboration, and creative solutions, we equip organizations across multiple industries to educate the people they serve and connect them with resources to improve their lives from the ground up. By partnering with health systems, educational institutions and corporations, achi empowers lasting transformation in individual lives— resulting in an overall healthier population and data to transform our healthcare payment models. To learn more about achi and its mission, visit www.achi.solutions.

About The Root Cause Coalition

Established in 2015, The Root Cause Coalition is a national non-profit, member-driven organization comprised of more than 70 leading health systems, hospital associations, foundations, businesses, national and community nonprofits, health insurers, academic institutions and policy centers. The Coalition works to achieve health equity through cross-sector collaboration in advocacy, education and research. For more information, visit www.rootcausecoalition.org and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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  • Hayley Studer

Today is my 25th wedding anniversary. When I look back over the years, I see the ups and downs of life and then replay the last 12 months that have brought more change to our family than any of the previous 24 years. I started reflecting on what marriage has taught me during this time and how that applies to our current business environment.

To provide some context, we have 14-year old twins that were in junior high and had very active schedules with school, sports and other activities. To layer on that, my husband semi-retired after working through a company merger. One week later, his mom unexpectedly passed away. His dad had Alzheimer’s, so we became responsible for his care until he passed away less than three months later. We then decided to totally renovate my in-law’s house, sell ours, and move there. Right after that, I left a job I loved to pursue starting a new company and ended up launching it right at the beginning of this global pandemic. It’s an understatement to say that we’ve had to adjust our lives and rethink the ways that we approach and do almost everything.

During this time, I’ve noticed these parallels between marriage and the business world:

· Getting back to basics and core values – The changes in our family, and now COVID-19, has uprooted our lives, but has also given us the opportunity to focus on what is most important to us. As our businesses and communities are similarly impacted, focusing on what’s truly essential and letting go of the rest helps keep us from getting sidetracked.

· Communication becomes even more critical - As we’ve modified our roles and responsibilities at home over the last year, expectations change and it becomes even more crucial that we stay aligned. The same goes for stakeholders in business – employees, patients, and customers must receive frequent, consistent, and clear communication when the world is changing rapidly in order for them to feel connected.

· Difficult financial decisions must be made – Our financial situation has changed dramatically. We’ve had to prioritize the basics, cut out some extras, while at the same time continuing to invest in our future. Business is no different. As 2020 financial projections are now obsolete for many companies, leaders must focus on keeping the business afloat, while still investing in the things that will strategically secure them for the future.

· Status quo is no longer an option – A healthy marriage occurs when both people grow and adapt to the changing environment. Our lives have evolved tremendously over the past 25 years and we have to continue to pivot. Companies go out of business if they do not adjust to the market changes and stay ahead of their competition. Innovation and the willingness to try new things are a must.

· Choose the right partner – This may be the most important of all. Choosing the right marriage partner to do life with is key. The same applies to business. Partnering with people and companies that share your core values and understand your mission makes all the difference in how strategies are executed.

At achi, we value partnerships and understanding our client’s mission and strategy. The world has shifted and we cannot afford to go back to the status quo. COVID-19 has illuminated shortcomings in many areas and highlighted social and health disparities across our communities, and the businesses that can adapt quickly and engage stakeholders well will thrive. Let us help you invest in programs that will position you for the future.

achi Health Inequities Flyer
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About achi

achi is a holistic care management company that lowers overall expenses by actively engaging people and connecting them to organizations to address the social determinants of health. Through innovative partnerships, cross-sector collaboration, and creative solutions, we equip organizations across multiple industries to educate the people they serve and connect them with resources to improve their lives from the ground up. By partnering with health systems, educational institutions and corporations, achi empowers lasting transformation in individual lives—resulting in an overall healthier population and data to transform our healthcare payment models. To learn more about achi and its mission, visit www.achi.solutions.

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My eighth-grade daughter had an assignment to research and write a persuasive essay about a current controversial topic. She chose to look into the effects of poverty on a person’s health. She has obviously picked up on some of the things I’ve talked about when starting this company, but I was impressed as she started researching things and sending me articles and websites that I hadn’t seen before. So, I told her that I would share her perspective in one of my blogs. I hope she will continue to challenge everyone to look at things in a different light. The content below has been edited to fit, but is based on the essay by Jaycie Studer and reflects her 14-yr old perspective on this topic:

Poverty can be a cause of bad health and people can become unhealthy just based on their circumstances. Peter Cunningham with the CommonWealth Fund stated, ”We found that even relatively healthy lower-income people — those who earn 200% or less of the federal poverty level (FPL), or about $24,000 or less a year, and have fewer than three chronic conditions and no functional limitations — have higher health risks, greater social needs, and worse access to care than relatively healthy moderate-income (200%–400% FPL) and higher-income (>400% FPL) people.”

For example, if you're living on the streets, you are exposed to a lot of exhaust, which makes you have a higher risk for developing severe asthma. Asthma may not be the worst disease, but when you can’t afford any medications, it can just progress. Anda Kuo, MD, founding director of Pediatric Leadership for the Underserved at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) stated, “The mom may not have a job that lets her leave to take care of her child. She has to deal with health insurance, accessing specialists, and getting and affording medications.” This shows that not everyone has access to easy and affordable healthcare. There are a lot of factors that play into getting medications when you live in poverty. Even if the mom is able to leave work, she may go unpaid during that time, and not make enough money to support herself and her kids.

People can also become sick/unhealthy just based on their address when living in poverty. One example of this would be obesity. A person may not feel safe enough to take a walk in their neighborhood, or there may not be many sidewalks or open park areas to exercise. This can lead to higher obesity rates. The CommonWealth Fund analyzed the 2014-2016 National Health Interview Survey and found 36% of low-income adults claimed to be obese, compared to 28% in higher-income adults. This survey also concluded that 21% of adults in the low-income range feel that it is unsafe to walk near home.

Stress in poverty is also another big factor that can cause diseases. Nancy Adler, PhD, director of the Center for Health and Community at UCSF says, “People who have a continually heightened response to stress can acquire an allostatic load – wear and tear on the body caused by stress – that permanently throws off their endocrine system and causes it to overproduce cortisol. Their cortisol level goes up and doesn’t come down, putting them at lifelong risk of cardiovascular disease.” This shows that even the everyday stress that you have in poverty, could give you cardiovascular disease, which could eventually be fatal.

So, what can we do to help? Have you ever noticed a patient that comes into the hospital all of the time for different things? These things could be costing your hospital a bunch of money, and they could maybe even be prevented. People living in poverty may not have stable housing, or might not have housing at all. Doctors at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital came up with a way to help. After finding out that a lot of the recurrent patients didn’t have stable housing, their hospital did something about it. “This led the hospital to develop a respite-care program involving short-term housing for homeless persons who are either recovering from a hospitalization or receiving medical care for a condition that renders them too ill to live on the street or in a shelter.” Even though this could cost the hospital some money to run this program, it could save them and the patients money overall on unreimbursed medical supplies and medical bills. Programs like these help people in poverty to stay healthier.

If you don’t own a hospital or a big organization, you may think you can do nothing to help people in poverty. Even if it is just you, you can still do things to help! You can donate to organizations that provide services to people in poverty. Another thing you can do is just raise awareness. Most people know about poverty, but you can raise awareness to show that not all of the health issues they have are their fault. By doing this, you can help people understand the greater impact that poverty can have on someone’s health.

Thanks Jaycie for sharing your thoughts and being willing to learn more about these issues. I think we may have found a future achi employee!

About achi

achi is a holistic care management company that lowers overall expenses by actively engaging people and connecting them to organizations to address the social determinants of health. Through innovative partnerships, cross-sector collaboration, and creative solutions, we equip organizations across multiple industries to educate the people they serve and connect them with resources to improve their lives from the ground up. By partnering with health systems, educational institutions and corporations, achi empowers lasting transformation in individual lives—resulting in an overall healthier population and data to transform our healthcare payment models. To learn more about achi and its mission, visit www.achi.solutions.

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