Complex care seeks to improve health and well-being for people with complex health and social needs by coordinating and reshaping care delivery at the individual, community, and system levels. It addresses root causes of poor health through interdisciplinary care teams and cross-sector partnerships that deliver person-centered care based around participants’ own goals and priorities. These root causes extend beyond physical health and well-being to include social determinants of health including poverty, trauma, housing and/or food insecurity, and lack of access to care. 

Why do we need complex care?

In the US, our systems of care — including healthcare, public health, social care, housing, education, and more — typically address an individual’s single need in isolation and are not designed to work together to meet multiple needs simultaneously. For individuals with the most complex health and social needs, lack of access to coordinated physical, behavioral, and social services results in poor health outcomes and the use of expensive services.