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Pay for Success in Social Innovation w/ Ruth Ann Norton

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Pay for Success in Social Innovation w/ Ruth Ann Norton

September 12, 2019

Pay for Success in Social Innovation w/ Ruth Ann Norton

 The evidence is clear. Addressing the social determinants of health can dramatically improve health outcomes and reduce spending in healthcare, social services, education, criminal justice, and more. The problem is that not all interventions can be isolated and measured, and the value is not always realized by the entity that pays the bill. This creates a tremendous amount of friction that prevents us from moving forward on initiatives that we all agree should happen. That’s where Pay for Success comes in:


Pay for Success (PFS) financing models are cross-sector partnerships in which funders pay upfront for a social service and then a government, healthcare, or other back-end payer repays the investment if, and only if, predetermined outcomes are met.


On this episode, we talk with Ruth Ann Norton, President & CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), about how they’re using Pay For Success to enable social innovation across the country. We discuss:


  • GHHI’s history and mission to break the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy families
  • How to gather evidence that social interventions work
  • How to quantify that value in terms of outcomes and cashable savings
  • How to communicate that value to stakeholders
  • How to document and acknowledge that the one who pays for the intervention is not always the direct beneficiary of the improved outcomes or savings.
  • Why we need to avoid “penalizing innovation” through unintended consequences of our funding mechanisms
  • How Pay for Success (PFS) funding models work
  • How Pay for Success (PFS) funding differs from pay for performance


This is an important topic and conversation for anyone trying to drive meaningful change through social innovation. Give it a listen and let us know what you think on Twitter by tagging >@The_HCBiz.

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