Northeast Delta HSA Uses Its Economic Impact to Improve Regional Population Health Outcomes

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Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) has strategically leveraged its resources to be an economic engine for the 12-parish region of northeast Louisiana. Through providing its mental health, addictive disorder, developmental disability, and prevention and wellness services, the local governing entity is estimated to contribute more than $191 million dollars over the course of ten years, according to an independent economic impact study done by the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM) in 2020. NEDHSA is approaching its ninth year.

"The time is now for even more health systems to leverage their economies of scale to help build the broken community infrastructure where vulnerable people live, work, play, worship, and die." - Dr. Monteic A. Sizer

Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) has strategically leveraged its resources to be an economic engine for the 12-parish region of northeast Louisiana. Through providing its mental health, addictive disorder, developmental disability, and prevention and wellness services, the local governing entity is estimated to contribute more than $191 million dollars over the course of ten years, according to an independent economic impact study done by the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM) in 2020. NEDHSA is approaching its ninth year.

ULM's study analyzed NEDHSA's contributions to local, regional, and statewide economies through its personnel wages, a network of partnerships, sponsored programs, and clinical operations, all of which benefit northeast Louisiana through direct, indirect, and induced impacts. The study estimated that there would be a highly significant reduction in the level of economic activity in northeast Louisiana in the absence of NEDHSA.

Though limited in scope, the study also evaluated the impacts on employment, income, and taxes that resulted from NEDHSA operations, not on the broader indirect socioeconomic impact reductions the agency offers through its many services. The economic impact was measured in three ways: the impact on household income, the regional value-added, and the total impact.

For household income, the single-year economic impact of NEDHSA is $15,279,991. Without NEDHSA, households in northeast Louisiana would have over $15 million less income to spend each year. The impact of NEDHSA on regional value-added in one year is $4,434,941. The single-year total economic impact of all transactions of NEDHSA on Northeast Louisiana is $21,207,482. The total economic impact of all transactions over 10-years (present-value) is $191,957,370.

NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said the agency is intentional about being an economic driver for the region "as it further supports the vulnerable populations we serve."

"We have always been committed to helping to transform Louisiana's Delta programmatically, administratively, and through building strategic community partnerships," Dr. Sizer said. "The time is now for even more health systems to leverage their economies of scale to help build the broken community infrastructure where vulnerable people live, work, play, worship, and die."

The study showed that through its hiring, employment by suppliers, and spending by employees and others, NEDHSA creates more than 182 additional full-time equivalent jobs in northeast Louisiana. The jobs created by NEDHSA, both directly and indirectly, result in local and state single-year sales tax and state income tax revenues totaling over $869,000 and over $7.8 million in 10-years.

NEDHSA's work to improve population health targets the negative social determinants of health. The agency has created and implemented initiatives to combat food insecurity, high unemployment, community instability, poor quality education, and inadequate housing options.

"Health systems and private industry leaders can use their influence and earned trust to be intentional about creating jobs, buying supplies and equipment from local vendors, and work with government officials on ways to establish affordable housing options, increase fresh food markets, develop reliable transportation systems, help to improve educational systems, and work to build a more robust nonprofit sector. We must improve social conditions if we want better population health outcomes, especially for the poor and most vulnerable in our region and state," Dr. Sizer said.

ULM Chief Innovation & Research Officer Dr. John W. Sutherlin said NEDHSA "remains a critical partner with ULM."

"They are frontline service providers across several mental health sectors," Dr. Sutherlin said. "We look for ways to continue to collaborate with the authority and expand services. Our region is better because of their commitment to everyone in our community."

One of NEDHSA's missions is to make behavioral and primary healthcare accessible to the 12-parish region by offsetting the unique challenges of the people it serves. Utilizing evidence-based practices, NEDHSA developed an innovative approach to bridging the gap in its clients' needs by offering a holistic approach to treatment, which addresses behavioral health, primary health, and social determinants of health. NEDHSA's innovative model was selected by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) North America, a research center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as one of its 2016 National Health Care Innovations Award winners.

Renowned economists recognized that NEDHSA's social and economic impact would demonstrate exponential societal benefits and cost savings due to preventing and intervening in the lives of vulnerable individuals and communities. NEDHSA is currently researching to gauge the cost savings to the region and state based on its integrated care model.

Dr. Sizer added: "It's time we all look at health systems as economic engines and hubs due to our ability to create jobs and leverage capacity to improve health outcomes. Our agency is a difference-maker both in the economic impact we make and in the people's lives we touch through our lifesaving programs and initiatives."

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DeRon Talley
@NEDeltaHSA
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