The Chamber’s Health Care Action Team is comprised of many members dedicated to making Greater Philadelphia a global hub for health care innovation. Below is an example of how our members are helping to make this vision a reality.

This press release was originally published by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Ted Dallas and Department of Education (PDE) Secretary Pedro Rivera were joined by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney; executives from Einstein Medical Center, Hahnemann University Hospital, Temple University, and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia; legislators; stakeholders; and other advocates to announce the Health Enterprise Zone (HEZ) – a plan to address the health disparities in North Philadelphia.

“Is there a better way to provide health care for the residents of North Philadelphia? That’s the question that the HEZ is designed to answer,” said Dallas. “By bringing together government, health care providers, hospitals, philanthropy and community stakeholders, we hope to increase access, improve quality, and reduce health disparities for North Philadelphia families.”

Rather than simply expanding the strategies currently in place, the HEZ will try new and innovative community-based approaches to health care. Instead of the traditional medical model, the HEZ will reward approaches to reduce health disparities, improve health outcomes, and stabilize and reduce health care costs.

“There is currently a disparity in health outcomes for residents in North Philly compared to those in other parts of the city. Life expectancy is lower, and statistics show they experience a higher rate of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease,” said Mayor Kenney. “We need to work collaboratively with system partners to make life better for those who live here.”

“Research shows that good health can have a tremendous impact on student academic growth by reducing absenteeism, easing disciplinary issues, and improving a student’s ability to focus and learn,” PDE Secretary Rivera said. “Introducing school-based health services can help ensure students have access to the routine and preventative care that will help them grow academically, physically, and socially.”

Why North Philadelphia?

There are nearly 300,000 Medicaid recipients in the North Philadelphia zone. That is 13 percent of Pennsylvania’s Medicaid population in a relatively small area. These families are more likely to experience deep poverty that affects not only their health but also their education, employment and income.

At the same time, North Philadelphia is home to five hospi