American Hospital Association: Infographic – Digital solutions to improve maternal care (9/15) – The American Hospital Association released an infographic on considerations for hospitals developing digital solutions to improve maternal care. Hospitals and patients are seeking tools that support maternal health while offering greater convenience and efficiency, along with more comprehensive and culturally competent care.
WABE: CareSource Invests $2.5M to Support Affordable Housing (9/13) – CareSourceannounced
a $2.5 million investment to advance affordable housing in Atlanta. The investment will support the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership’s acquisition and rehabilitation of 75 single-family homes that will provide affordable rentals across the Metro Atlanta region.
CareSource: CareSource and UnitedHealthcare Support SE Ohio Foodbank with $100,000 Donation (9/13) – CareSource partnered with UnitedHealthcare to support the SE Ohio Foodbank with a $100,000 donation that will provide emergency food support through direct distributions across Ohio. The funds will also support the foodbank’s pantry network in their 10 county service area.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pitt’s New Healthy Home Lab Will Help Students Find Solutions for Aging in Place (9/12) – University of Pittsburgh’s new Healthy Home Lab will aim to support aging in place by designing and developing assistive and smart home technology, with students at the University working to come up with ways to make home environments healthier for people, especially seniors and those with disabilities. The eventual goal will be to bring patients from a UPMC geriatric clinic into the home to have hands-on learning with the smart technology.
Digital Equity Foundation Act: (9/15) – Reps. Matsui (D-CA), Grijalva (D-AZ), Eshoo (D-CA), and Smith (D-WA) and Sens. Lujan (D-NM), Merkley (D-OR), Heinrich (D-NM), Markey (D-MA), Blumenthal (D-CT), and Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Digital Equity Foundation Act (H.R. 8858/S. 4865), which would establish a Foundation for Digital Equity to leverage public and private investments to make progress on closing the divide on digital equity, digital inclusion, and digital literacy.
End Veteran Hunger Act: (9/15) – Reps. Jacobs (D-CA), Brownley (D-CA), Levin (D-CA), and Speier (D-CA) introduced the End Veteran Hunger Act (H.R. 8852), which would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program on food insecurity that would provide grants for proven federal food and nutrition programs like SNAP to increase proactive outreach and education to veterans, and reduce the stigma associated with utilizing these programs.
Access to Critical Non-Emergency Transportation Services Act: (9/15) – Reps. Carter (R-GA), Cardenas (D-CA), and Bishop (D-GA) introduced the Access to Critical Non-Emergency Transportation Services Act (H.R. 8841), which would require the Secretary of HHS, in coordination with single State agencies, to assist certain dual eligible individuals participating in the Repetitive, Scheduled, Non-Emergent Ambulance Transport (RSNAT) model with accessing non-emergency medical assistance benefits under the Medicaid program.
Grant Assistance and Technical Education (GATE) Act: (9/13) – Rep. Smith (D-WA) introduced the Grant Assistance and Technical Education (GATE) Act (H.R. 8815), which would establish within the HHS Office of Minority Health the position of Outreach Coordinator to support community-based organizations in navigating the federal grantmaking process. The bill would also provide grants to state and local public health entities to build capacity in local community-based organizations focused on addressing health inequities. Fact Sheet
Wayne Ford Racial Impact Statement Act: (9/9) – Rep. Torres (D-NY) introduced the Wayne Ford Racial Impact Statement Act of 2022 (H.R. 8795), which would establish a process for the creation of minority impact assessments to determine whether pending bills, if enacted, are likely to create or exacerbate disparate outcomes among racial or ethnic minority groups.
Expand Housing Opportunities Act: (9/6) – Sen. Hassan (D-NH) introduced the Expand Housing Opportunities Act (S. 4789), which would establish a competitive grant program at the Department of Housing and Urban Development to support the construction, preservation, or rehabilitation of affordable workforce housing in areas with shortages of affordable housing units for sale.
To view a full list of the legislation we are tracking around social determinants of health, health equity/disparities, and maternal health, click here.
SAMHSA: HHS Awards Nearly $700,000 to the Hawaii State Department of Health to Establish an AA and NHPI Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (9/9) – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded nearly $700,000 to the Hawaii State Department of Health to develop a Center of Excellence and advance behavioral health equity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities. The AA and NHPI Behavioral Health Center of Excellence will promote cultural and linguistically appropriate behavioral health information and practices, and provide training to practitioners on addressing mental health impact caused by unconscious bias.
GAO: Homelessness - VA Provides Support to the Most Vulnerable Women Veterans (9/8) – The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program and how this program supports women veterans in homelessness prevention services. GAO recommended that the VA evaluate and report to Congress and the public on SSVF's efforts and progress to improve its service provider quality.
CMS: HHS Approves 12-Month Extension of Postpartum Medicaid and CHIP Coverage in Indiana and West Virginia (9/8) - CMS approved the extension of Medicaid and CHIP coverage for 12 months after pregnancy in Indiana and West Virginia. With this approval, in combination with previous approved state extensions, an estimated 333,000 Americans annually in 23 states and D.C. are eligible for 12 months of postpartum coverage.
CMS: Supporting Maternal Health through Medicaid & CHIP (9/8) - CMS released a fact sheet on the agency’s efforts to-date to support maternal health through Medicaid and CHIP through efforts to expand access to high-quality, affordable health care. Examples include the option for states to provide continuous Medicaid and CHIP coverage for a full year after pregnancy and CMS establishing a “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation in recent rulemaking.
CMS: New Rule Makes Clear that Noncitizens Who Receive Health or Other Benefits to which they are Entitled Will Not Suffer Harmful Immigration Consequences (9/8) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule applicable to noncitizens who receive or wish to apply for benefits provided by HHS and States that support low-income families and adults. The rule, which details how DHS will interpret the “public charge” ground of inadmissibility, will help ensure that noncitizens can access health-related benefits and other supplemental government services, to which they are entitled by law, such as Medicaid, SNAP or TANF, without triggering harmful immigration consequences. The final rule will be effective December 23, 2022.
CMS: Make Your Voice Hear RFI Seeks Public Comment to Promote Efficiency, Reduce Burden, and Advance Equity within CMS Programs (9/6) - CMS released the Make Your Voice Heard Request for Information (RFI), seeking public input on accessing health care and related challenges, understanding provider experiences, advancing health equity, and assessing the impact of waivers and flexibilities provided in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. CMS is seeking to better understand individual and community-level burdens, health-related social needs, and opportunities to reduce disparities across its programs. Comments are due November 4.
White House: Advancing Equity with Community Data Partnerships (9/6) - The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a RFI
on how federal agencies can better support collaboration with other levels of government, civil society, communities and grassroot organizations, and the research community around the production and use of equitable data. The RFI requests comments on policies, resources, programs and other tools to facilitate increased equitable data sharing, best practices from collaborations involving equitable data, and more. Comments are due October 3.
SDoH & Health Equity in the News
Institute for Medicaid Innovation: Future of Medicaid Risk Adjustment – CDPS + Rx Version 7.0 is Ready (9/13) – The Institute for Medicaid Innovation launched a collaborative project in 2020 with the University of California San Diego to update the Chronic Illness and Disability Payment (CDPS) risk adjustment weights, currently used by 22 state Medicaid programs. CDPS+Rx version 7.0 was just released, with phase III of the project having a goal of conducting an exploratory analysis to determine if weights can be established for social determinants of health.
Modern Healthcare: YouTube partners with Morehouse, others on health equity videos (9/12) – YouTube launched the THE-IQ program to help health-focused non-profits create educational videos about disparities in mental, maternal and other health care. YouTube and Kaiser Family Foundation will provide video training and resources for staff at non-profits that support underrepresented and underserved communities. The first three participants are the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine, the Loveland Foundation, and the National Birth Equity Collaborative.
STAT News: Why do people turn down social risk assistance offered by their doctors’ office? (9/12) – The health care system has begun to grapple with social drivers of health, with responses including efforts to identify patients and families experiencing social risk factors. However, a significant number of patients decline the assistance offered by their health care teams even if they acknowledged having social risks. STAT awarded research groups grants in 2019 to explore these questions from different angles, explored in this article.
Kaiser Health News: Patient Satisfaction Surveys Earn a Zero on Tracking Whether Hospitals Deliver Culturally Competent Care (9/8) – Patient satisfaction surveys often do not include questions on whether patients experience discrimination during a hospital treatment or stay, and often fail to ask diverse groups of patients whether they have received culturally competent care. This speaks to many of the existing racial and ethnic inequities in care, and that the surveys can go farther to assess if hospitals are meeting patient needs.
New York Times: Food Insecurity for Families with Children Reached Two-Decade Low in 2021 (9/7) - Food insecurity for households with children declined to its lowest rate in two decades last year, according
to the Department of Agriculture, as government assistance programs continued to blunt the effect of COVID-19 on the economy. About 4.6 million households with children were food insecure at some point, a rate of 12.5 percent – the lowest rate since 1998. This is expected to change as pandemic-era programs expire.
Health Affairs: Medicare’s Current Strategy for Health-Related Social Needs is Necessary but Not Sufficient (9/2) – A growing body of research confirms the variable but pervasive presence of unmet health-related social needs (HRSNs) among Medicare beneficiaries. A recent series of proposed rules and requests for information thus far in 2022 suggest regulators’ readiness to take steps in addressing social risk factors, and the opportunities and challenges in doing so.
Data and Innovation
Healthcare IT News: U.S. health care system’s reliance on biased data perpetuates health inequity, report shows (9/15) – According to a new report
from the Terry Group, there is widespread use of biased utilization data in the U.S. health care system, resulting in misallocation of resources and perpetuation of health inequity most notably in the already underserved communities across the country. The report found the health care system's reliance on incorrect, outdated or incomplete utilization data may not accurately reflect the underlying health risks and needs of disadvantaged populations and communities, resulting in a serious misallocation of health care resources.
Health Affairs: How to Improve Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data and Disparities Interventions (9/14) – The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on historically marginalized communities has elevated and motivated a focus on equity-oriented data—especially race, ethnicity, and language (REL) data—that can be used to identify and intervene on urgent population health priorities. This blog presents considerations for state-based, multistakeholder approaches to collect, validate, and share REL data with the goal of advancing equity through clinical quality and social driver interventions that can improve the health and well-being of historically marginalized communities.
Mobi Health News: Data’s Role in Health Equity (9/14) – In this episode of HIMSS TV, Health information technology officer for Connecticut's Office of Health Strategy Sumit Sajnani discusses how data improves health care access by allowing agencies and providers across the state to build a holistic view of a patient's needs.
EHR Intelligence: Awareness of EHR SDOH Documentation Capabilities Varies by Practice Type (9/8) – According to a study published in JAMIA, while nine in 10 physicians are aware of electronic health record (EHR) social determinants of health documentation capabilities, levels of awareness vary significantly by practice characteristics. The authors said that EHR training initiatives targeting providers less likely to be aware of SDOH capabilities could help increase SDOH documentation.
New Research and Reports
California Health Care Foundation: Advancing Health Equity – A Recommended Health Equity Framework for Accountability in Medicaid (9/15) – As quality measures are a key component of accountability in managed care, it creates an opportunity to align quality and performance with equity-centered approaches. The California Health Care Foundation and NCQA developed a health equity measurement framework that state Medicaid programs can use to measure accountability in health plan managed care contracting. The framework provides a list of six core quality domains, each with two to five associated quality measures.
NYU: Women with Disabilities More Likely to Report Poor Diet, Food Insecurity (9/6) – A new study
led by researchers at NYU School of Global Public Health revealed that women with disabilities are nearly twice as likely to rate their diet as poor and are more likely to experience food insecurity compared to women without disabilities. Women with disabilities were also more likely to consume frozen foods and participate in food assistance programs.
Healio: Distance to supermarkets is a risk factor for CKD, hypertension, diabetes development (9/6) – Researchers have identified the distance between a household and a supermarket as a risk factor for chronic kidney disease, hypertension and diabetes development. The correlation between supermarket access and chronic disease can also be explained by individual and neighborhood-level factors. When adjusting for neighborhood factors, the correlation was significant between average zip code level distance to supermarket and incidence of hypertension, pre-diabetes and CKD.
American Journal of Preventive Medicine: Social Needs Identified by Diagnostic Codes in Privately Insured U.S. Adults (9/2) - The relationship between health care use and social needs are not fully understood. In 2015, International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision coding introduced voluntary Z codes for social needs‒related health care encounters. This study evaluated early national patterns of Z codes in privately insured adults, finding that many Z codes identified health care encounters caused by social stressors, whereas few identified food or transportation related causes.
Health Affairs: Social Risk Adjustment in the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program: A Systematic Review and Implications for Policy (September 2022) – Concern that value-based payment programs penalize providers disproportionately serving vulnerable patients prompted calls to adjust performance measures for social risk factors. This study reviewed 14 studies of social risk adjustment in Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, findings of which support the use of social risk adjustment to improve provider payment equity and highlight opportunities to enhance social risk adjustment in value-based payment programs.
In cooperation with Aligning for Health, RISE is bringing together policymakers, policy experts, and practitioners from across the health and social services sectors to explore the current and future state of social determinants of health policy. Learn from, engage with, and network with government leaders on federal efforts to increase coordination and impact of programs and services that address health and social needs. In the heart of Capitol Hill, join the only forum gathering state and local governments, leading payers, providers, community-based organizations, and health networks providing insights into innovative programs, models, and best practices to advance whole-person health. Walk away with a better understanding of policies and programs that advance and support data sharing, collaboration, financing, accountability, and equity.