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Social Determinants Updates

December 20 to January 10, 2020

Welcome to this edition of Aligning for Health’s Social Determinants Updates newsletter.  

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

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Member News

Yahoo Finance: (1/9) – Signify Health is partnering with Community Rebuilders Partners to address the social determinants of health that impact family homelessness in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Health Data Management: (1/6) – UPMC Health Plan announced a new data-backed social determinants of heath initiative called UPMC Social Impact. Led by the UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care, the initiative will create new social responsibility programs and expand upon our existing programs to address the health and wellbeing on our members, employees and community.

Crain’s Chicago Business: (1/6) – Molina Healthcare plans to buy Chicago-based NextLevel Health, a Medicaid managed care plan which has a community-based approach that combines a culturally sensitive lens and the recognition of social determinants of health to provide Medicaid members access to quality care.

Humana: (1/3) – Humana released a policy brief explaining that actionable social determinants data will help improve the health of their members. The brief examines the types of social determinants data, considerations for healthcare use, current efforts to operationalize this data and business impacts.

Managed Healthcare Executive: (1/2) – What do successful social determinants of health programs have in common? This article highlights four initiatives from health plans like AFH members Alliance for Better Health and UPMC.

Fox News: (12/28) – The American Hospital Association Hospital Community Cooperative Program is highlighted in the article explaining how hospitals across the US are investing in real estate to help with homelessness, mental health and other social determinants of health.

Charleston Chronicle: (12/30) – Molina Healthcare opened the Molina Closet in South Carolina, partnering with Charleston Community Impact, to provide families with food, hygiene items and educational literature on health care.

Health Payer Intelligence: (12/27) – Payers like UPMC, BCBSA and Cigna are getting a head start on their social determinants strategies for 2020 investing resources for new programs, grants and products focusing on addressing social determinants.

Health Payer Intelligence: (12/24) – Centene and Feeding America have partnered to address food security for their members by creating, testing and evaluating best practices and guidelines for medically tailored meal boxes to understand the dose, duration and frequency of the food needed for culturally sensitive meal boxes.

Healthcare Innovation: (12/23) – Rhonda Mims from WellCare writes about the importance of addressing social needs to improve health outcomes, and how programs like WellCare’s Community Connection Program can produce real results.

Social Determinants Accelerator Act

Patient Engagement HIT: (1/8) – Aligning for Health is urging Congress to advance the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, which aims to support community intervention for social determinants of health.

Pekin Times: (1/7) – Aligning for Health and 63 stakeholders submitted a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee supporting the Social Determinants Accelerator Act (H.R. 4004).

Health Data Management: (12/26) – This article highlights the Senate introduction of Social Determinants Accelerator Act (S. 2986), examining the creation of the Council, the grant awards and some endorsements the bill has received.

January 7
AFH Urges Congress to Advance the Social Determinants Accelerator Act

Aligning for Health and 63 other organizations called on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to advance the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, a bill that would provide funding and assistance for community-based health to address the social determinants of health.

Read Our Letter

New Research and Reports

CHCS: (1/9) – CHCS released a report on the importance of recognizing and sustaining the value of community health workers and promoters and their unique ability to leverage their personal experiences and ties to their communities, improving quality of life and health outcomes in California's Medi-Cal population. 

Patient Engagement HIT: (1/9) – New data from the University of Chicago suggests that CMS Star Ratings program disadvantages hospitals treating vulnerable patients experiencing social determinants of health.

NEJM: (1/9) – A randomized, controlled trial revealed that the ‘hot-spotting’ strategy popularized by the Camden Coalition did not lead to lower hospital readmissions compared to simply following the status quo. While the strategy isn’t a silver bullet, the consensus is that addressing social determinants of health is a necessary and complicated part of lowering health care costs that deserves more time and attention to fix.

Patient Engagement HIT: (1/3) – A recent the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that many food assistance programs targeting social determinants of health could benefit from better oversight and regulation.

Hospital Pediatrics: (January) – A new study examined if and how inpatient pediatric providers perform social determinants of health screenings. A multicenter, descriptive study at 4 children’s hospitals found that 29% if hospitalists and nurses reported screening for at least one social determinant frequently or with every hospitalized patients, among other important data points like screening tools and barriers to social determinants screenings.

Hospital Pediatrics: (January) – A new study examined the prevalence of social risk among children and caregivers of pediatric patients, with special attention given to children with chronic conditions. One in three families endorsed markers of financial stress like paying for food, medicine or utilities.

New York Times: (12/30) – New research published in JAMA found that opioid deaths rise when automotive plants close. The study found that there were 85% more deaths among those of prime working age in places where car factories closed compared with where they stayed open.

SDoH Data Collection and Innovation

Health IT Buzz: (1/9) – ONC announced its intent to continue work to support interoperability for social determinants, with the ISA adding 4 new interoperability needs in this area including representing drug use, food insecurity, housing insecurity and transportation insecurity.
AJMC:  (1/9) – The Learning Health System has emerged as a framework for improving healthcare delivery, but it may fail to reach its full potential if it does not incorporate data on social determinants of health or activities to reduce social risk factors.  

Health IT Analytics: (1/8) – Pediatric risk scoring took a backseat as payers and providers began to finetune the methodology for their adult populations. However, new ways to integrate data is not making pediatric risk scoring possible for two children’s hospitals.

MedCity News: (1/2) – A report by the Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE) called for a unified strategy for collecting data on social determinants of health led by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Becker’s Hospital Review: (12/20) – Legacy Health and Albertina Kerr teamed up with Epic to develop a customized application for its EHR system, which allows providers to track patients’ social determinants of health needs.

AJMC: (12/20) – This article highlights how health insurers are tackling social barriers of health, examining survey data to better understand what individual factors are most strongly related to loneliness and provides actionable insights that programs can use to improve social connectivity.

SDoH in the News

Healthcare Innovation: (1/8) – Hospitals are stepping in to help patients with transportation. But solving the issue of transportation as a social determinant of health is challenging as the difficulty lies in creating a consistent and reliable patient experience across diverse transportation models and systems.

Healthcare Innovation: (1/8) – The Medicaid Transformation Project (MTP), co-led by Andy Slavitt and AVIA, is a collaborative effort to transform healthcare and the related social needs for Americans on Medicaid, with more than 100 projects initiated across 30 health systems since 2018. This article examines the work the MTP has done to address community-based care, behavioral health, and maternal and infant health.

Health Affairs: (1/3) – The organizers of the Mid-Ohio Farmacy, the seventh largest food bank in the country, describe their experience of establishing a link between an academic medical center and a regional foodbank to address food insecurity in a health care setting.

Patient Engagement HIT: (1/2) – As more healthcare organizations focus on social determinants of health, they have to collaborate with other key players in communities to deliver on programs.

Health Leaders: (1/2) – Health Leaders provides an analysis of what to expect in 2020, placing a big emphasis on social determinants of health, but noting that there remains a question of whether emerging reimbursement models will help shift the uptake of social determinants initiatives and policies.

Forbes: (1/2) – This article examines the disconnect between healthcare spending and population health in the United States, looking at issues of physician shortages, life expectancy and public health funding to explain the current fragmentation of healthcare today.

Patient Engagement HIT: (12/26) – Access to nutritious food is regarded as a key social determinant of health, and food security initiatives have come to the forefront of many initiatives as a strategy to address social determinants.

Healthcare IT News: (12/23) – In 2019, social determinants got the attention it finally deserves, with more hospital and health systems beginning to embrace a more holistic approach of health and wellness for their patient populations.

Becker’s Hospital Review: (12/20) – UW Health’s population health chief Dr. Jonathan Jaffery discusses the importance of social determinants of health in relation to his population health strategy.

Patient Engagement HIT: (12/20) – The newly renovated Rutgers Community Health Center reopened its doors with its aim of improving community health for high-risk individuals, including addressing social determinants of health and managing patient wellness outside of individual care episodes.

WBIW: (12/20) – The Indiana Family and Social Services was awarded a $5.2 million CMS grant addressing maternal opioid use, aiming to improve the coordination of clinical care and the integration of other services that are critical for maternal and child health, well-being and sustained recovery.

CMS: (12/19) – CMS awarded funding for 10 states selected to receive funding under the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) Model.

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