Report: Wraparound Services Improve Health Care, Limit Cost

Oct 5, 2018

Wraparound services aim to provide care beyond the initial medical condition and include social work, nutrition and mental health.  A new report from Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and Eskenazi found wraparound services effectively improve health care outcomes.  

The report finds non-medical wraparound services saved $1 million to $2 million a year in reduced hospital costs for patients at Eskenazi hospital in Indianapolis. 

Joshua Vest is a professor at the IUPUI Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and says there is an increased focus on the social factors related to patient health.  

"Across the nation, health systems are struggling with how do we actually address this, how do we handle this for our patients? We need to be doing these kind of interventions," Vest says.

The report examines a five-year period between 2011 and 2016 and finds the number of hospital and ER visits dropped.  The most common wraparound service received was advice from a dietician. The next most common was guidance from a social worker, followed by behavioral health counseling. 

Vest says the number of people in need of those services surprised him. 

"But it was very surprising to see the extent that, many, many patients, for some organizations it’s going to be the majority of their patient are facing these challenges," Vest says.  

Wraparound service programs are more common in recent years, as health care systems work to reduce cost and improve outcomes.