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Social Determinants Updates

March 6 to March 20, 2020

Welcome to this edition of Aligning for Health’s Social Determinants Updates newsletter. Wishing you all the best during these uncertain times.

Wishing you all the best during these uncertain times. 

In this newsletter you'll find updates on the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, our member organizations; other notable articles on research, data and news related to social determinants; and upcoming events and opportunities.

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Member News

Health Payer Intelligence: (3/20) – Payers, like AFH member Humana, are investing in the coronavirus social determinants of health, such as food instability. The Humana Foundation put $5000,000 toward coronavirus recovery and addressing social determinants of health.

Yahoo Finance: (3/19) – AFH member Caresource announced the allocation of $500,000 to help support community partners to provide food access to vulnerable populations in Ohio and Indiana, and to provide child care to medical workers in Georgia during the coronavirus pandemic.

Patient Engagement HIT: (3/16) – AFH member Humana is partnering with the National Quality Foundation in defining quality measures and best practices for food security and SDOH programming.

Courier Tribune: (3/5) – AFH member Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced an $8 million commitment to rural health initiatives across the state.

March 2020
Western Governors' Association Endorses the Social Determinants Accelerator Act (H.R. 4004)

Aligning for Health is excited to announce that the Western Governors’ Association, an independent organization representing the Governors of the 22 westernmost states and territories, has endorsed the Social Determinants Accelerator Act (H.R. 4004) and sent a letter in support of the Social Determinants Accellerator Act to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Walden (R-OR).

The Western Governors’ Association joins several other state and local government organizations in supporting the Social Determinants Accelerator Act – legislation that would empower states, localities, and tribal organizations to design right-sized interventions to meet their unique community needs.

Read Their Letter and AFH Press Release

New Research and Reports

Milbank Quarterly: (3/19) – This report is a systematic review and meta-analysis of 38 randomized trials examining how social policies not only improve economic well-being, but also improve health.

Health IT Analytics: (3/17) – Individuals living in areas of greater deprivation and rurality had lower rates of recommended cancer screening, reflecting the significant impact the social determinants of health have on care access, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

NCBI: (3/10) – This study synthesizes the literature on associations between social determinants of health and pregnancy-related mortality and morbidity in the United States, highlighting opportunities for intervention and future research.

Patient Engagement HIT: (3/11) – New data suggests rurality and social determinants of health are intrinsically linked, which could prompt a new look at care access.

JAMA: (3/9) – A study examining the association between area deprivation, rurality and screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer in patients from three US Midwest states found that individuals living in areas of greater deprivation and rurality had lower rates of recommended cancer screenings, signaling the need for effective intervention strategies that may include improved community partnerships and patient engagement to enhance access to screening in highest-risk populations.

SIREN: (March) – Researchers conducted a review of tools to screen for social needs, identifying 15 common domains and assessing their alignment with the Institute of Medicine recommendations. The review is a practice brief that can help health care institutions and clinicians implement screening and interventions related to health-related social conditions.

SIREN: (March) – This study used logistic regression to identify factors associated with successful social service uptake and conducted a study of households that were screened for social needs and their reported successful social service rate. The findings have implementation implications for programs aiming to address social needs in practice as less than half of households reported successful referrals.

SIREN: (March) – The authors of this study developed the OASIS (Outcomes from Addressing SDOH in Systems) conceptual framework to map the known and hypothesized pathways by which unmet social need screening and referral interventions may impact outcomes.

SIREN: (March) – This study evaluated the impact of a complex care management program on spending and utilization for high-need, high-cost Medicaid patients. The study found that carefully designed and targeted complex care management programs may be an effective approach to caring for high-need, high cost Medicaid patients.

SDoH in the News

Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness: (3/20) – The Coalition has creates a resources page on the physical, behavioral, and mental health effects of social distancing and how to stay connected with others while intentionally isolating oneself.

Health IT Analytics: (3/19) – New research from the American College of Cardiology found that an individual’s social determinants of health can provide valuable information about a person’s potential risk of heart disease, but these clinical factors are often overlooked.

SIREN: (March) – SIREN has compiled a resource page on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable populations.

Health Affairs: (3/19) – This blog article discusses health justice strategies to combat COVID-19, especially for protecting vulnerable communities during a pandemic.

PEW Charitable Trust: (3/18) – Housing plays a key role in people’s health and well-being, with research showing how living conditions influence maternal and infant health.

EHR Intelligence: (3/18) – According to a PEW Charitable Trust focus group, patients want enhanced data sharing for providers and patients, but they stressed the importance of patient data privacy and security.

MobiHealthNews: (3/16) – CVS’s Guardian Angel program teams up with Unite Us on social determinants of health program providing resources to individuals with substance abuse disorder in North Carolina.

NCRC: (3/13) – The outbreak of the coronavirus is the latest reminder that social determinants of health must be considered if we aim to curb the spread of disease and advance public health now and in the future.

The National Council for Behavioral Health: (March) – The National Council has compiled a resource page for the public, behavioral care organizations and behavioral health care resources.

Health Payer intelligence: (3/13) -- Researchers from both coasts of the US recommended a special needs plan under Medicare Advantage that would improve the nation’s homeless healthcare strategy, since individuals facing unstable housing often struggle with mental and behavioral health care issues.

Patient Engagement HIT: (3/12) – A new package of legislation from the Congressional Black Maternal Health Caucus, titled the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020, aims to close health disparities and address key social determinants of health that fuel black maternal health disparities.

Patient Engagement HIT: (3/12) –The social determinants of health remain a key barrier to patient care, with social risk factors coming in as a leading cause of most older adults not being able to age in place, despite their own wishes, according to a new report from Edelman Intelligence.

ACL: (3/11) – Following up on the National Summit on Health Care and Social Service Integration, the Administration for Community Living reflects on their first national summit and the sense of urgency and window of opportunity to integrate social services and health care in the U.S.

Herald News: (3/10) – Legislation in Massachusetts would fund a pilot examining the impact of offering medically tailored meals to patients with a range of conditions and create a Food and Health Pilot Research Commission to review the pilot’s impact.

JAMA: (3/10) – This commentary focuses on implementation considerations for social determinants of health screening and referral interventions for children and the need for sufficient social services, public benefits, and community-based resources to truly make a difference in improving children’s overall health and well-being.

Fierce Healthcare: (3/9) – According to a survey of 200 health system executives from Advis, the biggest obstacles to addressing social determinants of health in hospitals is lack of money and an inability to prove an ability to make money.

Modern Healthcare: (3/9) – Michigan Governor Whitmer’s fiscal year 2021 budget includes a $5 million funding request to create a Medicaid transformation office focused on identifying new or enhanced payment and delivery systems, and addressing social needs.

Modern Healthcare: The Affordable Care Act increased coverage and incentivized the growth of value-based payment in healthcare, leading many to better understand the importance of social determinants of health.

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