October 11, 2017
Google parent company Alphabet has launched a start-up to provide healthcare to underserved communities and low-income Americans. The new venture, dubbed Cityblock Health, is part of Sidewalk Labs, Alphabet’s urban innovation group.
Iyah Romm, formerly the chief transformation officer for Massachusetts Commonwealth Care Alliance, is the founder and CEO of Cityblock. In a letter posted on www.medium.com, he wrote that the healthcare system is failing many families and communities, and Cityblock aims to build a scalable solution to address the root causes of health for underserved urban populations.
“Misaligned payment incentives, siloed medical and social service delivery, and fragmented data have resulted in a health system that fails to consistently meet the needs of those who rely on it most,” Romm wrote. “And while the impacts of poor health and dysfunctional healthcare are felt everywhere — in our families, by our economy, across our society as a whole — the sting is felt most sharply in the lower-income neighborhoods of our biggest urban centers.”
Cityblock will provide health services to Americans who are on Medicaid, as well as lower-income Medicare patients. “To do this, we will apply leading-edge care models that fully integrate primary care, behavioral health, and social services,” Romm writes.
Cityblock plans to take healthcare services out of hospitals and doctors’ offices and into the community, by partnering with service organizations and operating clinics known as Neighborhood Health Hubs. It expects to open the first hub in New York City in 2018, and will be looking to expand to other cities soon after.
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