Building Healthy Communities

Project Title

Improving Population Health: The Role of Hospitals in New York State

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Building Healthy Communities

Date Awarded

August 27, 2014







During the past few years, there has been increasing attention to the concept of population health—the health of all the people in a geographic community.

Population health comprises more than medical care; it also includes factors such as socioeconomic status, the built environment, and education. Hospitals and accountable care organizations (ACOs) can play important roles as key drivers of population health, but medical professionals often have a much narrower definition of population health. Creating a common definition of population health is essential both to assess the extent to which hospitals are working to improve population health and understand what resources are (or are not) being allocated to this important work. NYHealth awarded Cornell University Weill Cornell Medical College (Cornell) a grant to gather and analyze information on the current and future role of New York State hospitals in improving population health.

Under this grant, Cornell outlined what hospitals and hospital-based ACOs are actually doing to improve population health in New York State, as well as innovative examples of how hospitals throughout the country are financing population health efforts. Additionally, Cornell explored how incentives might facilitate population health improvement. The project included a review of the peer-reviewed and gray literature; a review of the State-mandated community service plans of 73 New York State hospitals; and interviews with key national and State stakeholders and relevant policymakers. Cornell published a report on recommendations that both hospital leadership and policymakers can take to increase New York State hospitals’ efforts to improve population health and make those efforts more effective.

Read the report, “The Role of Hospitals in Improving Non-Medical Determinants of Community Population Health.”