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Social Determinants Updates

May 1 to May 15, 2020

Welcome to Aligning for Health's Social Determinants Updates newsletter.

In this newsletter you will find updates on how the health care system is helping to meet health and social needs during the current public health emergency, as well as other notable links to research, data, and news related to social determinants, and upcoming virtual events and opportunities.

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Member News

Unite Us: (5/14) – In February, AFH Member Unite Us had a discussion with Erin Booker of ChristianaCare, highlighting her work in the Community Health Department including community outreach and how it is of even more importance during the COID-19 pandemic.

AP: (5/13) - AFH Member Centene has announced a series of investments and commitments to support the incarcerated population and the staff that serve them, including an expansion of its social determinants efforts to improve access to quality healthcare for people in the prison system.

Iosco News: (5/11) –Meridian, a subsidiary of AFH member Centene, has donated $45,000 to seven food banks across Michigan to help purchase meals for local residents and $60,000 worth of Walmart gift cards for use on essential healthcare and educational supplies.

PR Newswire: (5/11) – AFH Member Wellcare has donated $70,000 to local food pantries in areas of high need in New Jersey and $18,000 worth of Walmart gift cards for use on essential supplies for community-based organizations and FQHCs to distribute to essential workers and vulnerable populations.

HCSC: (5/6) – AFH  Member HCSC is working with medical schools and local and national organizations to improve diversity in the physician workforce, as well as measure health outcomes and collaborate with doctors and hospitals to improve the quality of care they provide for all patients.

UPMC: (5/6) – AFH Member UPMC’s chief medical and scientific officer Dr. Steven Shapiro participated in a virtual roundtable convened by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) to discuss his health care insight for reopening the economy and how COVID-19 is affecting people who experience social determinants of health.

PSQH: (5/5) – AFH member Alliance for Better Health and CEO Jacob Reider is featured in this article. about new programs supporting physicians in addressing social determinants of health.

CareSource: (5/4) – AFH member CareSource awarded a $25,000 grant to the Phoebe Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund which provides essential support to employees and emergency responders in efforts to keep the community safe healthy.

AHA: (5/1) – AFH member American Hospital Association has compiled resources on maternal and child health during COVID-19.

Legislative Update

Rep. Garcia: (5/1) – The Congressional Tri-Caucus introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act (H.R. 6637), which incorporated the Social Determinants Accelerator Act to address nonmedical factors that affect health outcomes. Representative Garcia introduced the bill and published a press release with the bill text.

TFAH(5/15) – Representatives Frankel (R-FL), Bilirakis (R-FL)  and Dingell (D-MI) plan to introduce the Protective the Health of America's Older Adults during COVID-19 and Beyond Act, which would establish a cross-agency National COVID-19 Resource Center for Older Adults and an Age-Friendly Public Health program at the CDC. 

Health Disparities and COVID-19

CNBC: (5/15) – Racial health disparities already existed in America, but COVID-19 exacerbated them. CNBC spoke with Blackstock and other black doctors, nurses, and experts to get their thoughts on how housing location, health care access and distrust in the medical system have all contributed to the racial health disparities we see today.

JAMA Network: (5/11) – This viewpoint article in JAMA highlights the racial and ethnic disparities that have been exacerbated by COVID-19 and the need for the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to study the short and long-term effects of COVID-19.

Patient Engagement HIT: (5/11) – New data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that people of color and low-income patients with comorbidities are at a higher risk of serious illness if infected with coronavirus due to underlying health and economic challenges.

ACOG: (5/11) – The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a position statement on addressing health equity during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the need for data collection, improving health care systems for better testing sites, and how obstetrician-gynecologists and other health professionals can screen for social determinants.

Fierce Healthcare: (5/11) – COVID-19 is widening gaps in health equity. This article highlights health systems and apps in New York, New Jersey, and Chicago that are addressing social determinants of health.

Washington Post: (5/10) – As more people face food insecurity in the U.S, the Editorial Board of the Washington Post argues that Congress needs to take bolder action than it has an boost maximum SNAP benefits by 15 percent, increase the minimum benefit, and extend Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) into the summer.

Forbes: (5/7) – The number of mothers reporting food insecurity has jumped more than 200 percent since the start of the pandemic, with more than 40 percent of mothers with children under the age of 12 reporting that they have experienced food insecurity since the crisis began.

Gallup: (5/5) – A new globally applicable measure developed by the World Food Programme and Gallup found that women are more likely to be affected by food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis, making it clear that relevant responses to COVID-19 require collecting sex-and age-disaggregated data.

U.S. News: (4/30) – New analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that while rural communities have fewer COVID-19 case per 100,000 people than urban areas, rates of both coronavirus cases and deaths have surged at a faster pace in more rural counties in the last two weeks.

Meeting Social Needs During COVID-19

Drug Topics: (5/13) – A live broadcast session from the 2020 Pharmacy Quality Alliance Annual Meeting highlighted that pharmacists can play a role in influencing outcomes associated with social determinants of health through effective screening and intervention methods that target medication adherence and reduce medical spend.

Daily Bulletin: (5/12) – CalFresh enrollments nearly tripled in L.A. County; California’s Department of Public Social Services received 126,875 applications in April as more people face food insecurity.

Patient Engagement HIT: (5/12) – A letter signed by 39 patient advocacy organizations urged HHS to establish additional funding mechanisms for multiple community-based public health campaigns beyond its current grant opportunity released by the Office of Minority Health.

Health Payer Intelligence: (5/12) – Humana’s $50 million COVID-19 relief and recovery funding provides insight on the challenges of supporting community partners during the uncertainties of the pandemic.

GBPI: (5/7) – This article argues that Georgia’s COVID-19 public health response must include support for stable, quality housing, as the pandemic is making it even more clear how interconnected health is with social determinants like economic security, food security, and housing stability.

NASHP: (May 2020) – NASHP has updated the Upstream Health Priorities for Governors toolkit to provide sample talking points for governors to reduce food insecurity and expand access to nutrition food. The brief includes case studies of how states across the country are promoting healthy diets to improve overall wellness and reduce health care costs.

COVID-19 Data Collection and Innovation

HIT Consultant: (5/15) –The American Heart Association has launched a COVID-19 data challenge to address health disparities among African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans in rural areas in an effort to bring COVID-19 datasets to researchers and clinicians to examine the relationship with other health conditions and health disparities.

Becker’s Hospital Review: (5/14) – States have been ramping up data-sharing efforts in an effort to help healthcare providers and public health officials get more COVID-19 data, including 7 state data exchanges that were recently launched to combat COVID-19 and incorporate social determinants of health data.

Patient Engagement HIT: (5/14) – New data from the University of Michigan’s National Poll on Healthy Aging found that food security reigned as a key social determinant for one in seven adults ages 50 to 80, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Only one-third of individuals reported food security issues were on some sort of food access support program like SNAP.

Health Payer Intelligence: (5/14) – A recent PwC Health Research Institute survey found that the percentage of Americans experiencing at least one social determinant of health rose eight percentage points during the coronavirus pandemic from 53% to 61%.

HIT Consultant: (5/12) – Verato launched an identity information service that helps to integrate and make available demographic and social determinants of health data for public health and COVID-19 contact tracing.

NewsWise: (5/8) – This week, a Maryland Taskforce on Vulnerable Populations for COVID-19 began implementing a data-driven approach to identifying communities and individuals at the highest risk for severe outcomes from COVID and the social needs they may be facing.

Brookings Institute: (5/6) – The Hamilton Project conducted a study on food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding that more than 1 in 5 households in the U.S. and 2 in 5 households with mothers with children 12 and under, were food insecure.

Axios: (5/6) – Children in the U.S. are currently experiencing food insecurity that is unprecedented in modern times, with 34.5 percent of homes with a child 18 years or younger having difficulty getting enough food.

MedCityNews: (5/3) – Social determinants have taken center stage during the COVID-19 crisis; health plans are finding that insight into social needs data for older adult members can help them to better understand how to tailor benefits and coverage to improve wellbeing.

New Research and Reports

Wisconsin Department of Health Services: (5/12) – The WI Department of Health Services has put together a page “crosscutting” the two focus areas of the state health plan and how health choices are influenced by social determinants of health.

BMC Public Health: (5/6) – This study draws on both social determinants of health and social vulnerability literature to analyze the social determinants in a Florida neighborhood and their relationship to life expectancy.

GAO: (May 2020) – A recent GAO study recommended that HHS can improve information to assist states and localities in adopting approaches that serve whole families and make information on two-generation approaches readily available.

SDoH in the News

Patient Engagement HIT: (5/12) – A new package of legislation from the Congressional Black Maternal Health Caucus titled the Black Maternal Health Momnibus of 2020 aims to close health disparities and address key social determinants of health that fuel black maternal health disparities.

Health IT Analytics: (5/12) – Social determinants of health strategies can be supported with artificial intelligence, as AI and machine learning can help organizations better collect and leverage patients’ social determinants data.

Health IT Analytics: (5/11) – The Indiana Network for Population Health will facilitate the secure exchange of social determinants of health data to boost population health management and make the data available for patient care, population-level surveillance, research, and further refinement of population health initiatives.

Health Payer Intelligence: (5/11) – A new study from AHIP highlighted the way that Medicaid Managed Care plans address social determinants of health, highlighting 8 Medicaid programs and 14 Medicaid plan proposals from 6 states and the four key strategies they have implemented to address social determinants.

Health Leaders Media: (5/11) – This article outlines several strategies that healthcare organizations can use to help address patient food insecurity.

Patient Engagement HIT: (5/6) – New research published in Health Affairs found that maternal morbidity disparities fall along racial lines and the hospital a mother visits for labor and delivery and whether the mother experiences a severe maternal morbidity case.

Patient Engagement HIT: (5/4) – Two new policy statements from the American Heart Association call on the medical community to consider the social determinants of health and the needs of family caregivers during health failure treatment and management.

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