The community-based agencies in New York’s aging services network have a strong history of providing valuable services that help to promote health and improve health outcomes for older people. It stretches back to improvements in sanitation and housing at the dawn of the 20th Century, to mobilizing to address the HIV/AIDS crisis, and most recently to addressing the chronic illness of the 21st Century, such as diabetes, hypertension, and dementia. The NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA) believes that these agencies can have an even greater impact by banding together.
To facilitate this, DFTA made developing the infrastructure to help integrate agencies into the healthcare system a key objective in its strategic plan. In 2016-2017, DFTA began a new management services organization (MSO) within DFTA’s not-for-profit arm, the Aging in New York Fund (ANYF), to form a bridge between the aging and health sectors. The work of the MSO—now known as CommunityCare Link—is intended to benefit its member agencies, their healthcare payer customers, and most importantly, the older adults and persons with disabilities in NYC who will gain greater access to needed services.
To form CommunityCare Link, ANYF used an application process to identify strong organizations with the capacities and commitment needed to participate. There are currently 10 community-based organizations, with locations all across the city, in this network.
CommunityCare Link is part of the national movement focusing attention on the importance of social and behavioral determinants of health and creating a broader set of tools to address the interrelated health and social support challenges facing older adults and people with disabilities. These efforts have been nurtured federally by the Administration on Community Living (ACL), and more recently statewide by New York State’s Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) and Department of Health (NYSDOH).