Business Wire: PointClickCare Announces Partnership with findhelp to Improve SDOH Care Outcomes for Vulnerable Populations (10/13) – PointClickCare Technologies announced a partnership with findhelp to automatically surface patient referral data for in-community social services like transportation and housing to present to care coordinators, case managers, and social workers in the integrated care collaboration platform for providers and health plans. This will ensure clinicians have access to the right information when they need it.
3M: Striving for anti-racism in health care: Putting ideas into action (10/10) – In this episode of the 3M Health Information Systems Inside Angle Podcast, Dr. Melissa Clarke speaks with DeAnna Minus-Vincent, executive vice president, chief social justice and accountability officer at RWJBarnabas Health System, who oversees the Health Beyond the Hospital initiative. This initiative is the first end-to-end universally applied, fully integrated social determinants of health initiative which seeks to create efficiencies for providers while streamlining the delivery of services for patients in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.
Health Payer Intelligence: Blue Cross NC Partnership Aims to Improve Fall Prevention for Members (10/6) – Blue Cross North Carolina (NC), a health plan of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, announced a partnership with the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative that would aim to improve fall prevention for its members. The partnership will create healthy housing environments for middle-aged and senior Blue Cross NC members and will include a program that performs an evaluation of the home and environment to asses fall risk and provide repairs.
CareSource: CareSource Invests $1M to Support Affordable Housing in Rural Georgia (10/5) – CareSource announced a $1 million investment to advance affordable housing in rural Southern Georgia at the American Rural Prosperity Summit in Athens, Georgia. CareSource will partner with Volunteers of America to build new construction housing, multifamily housing and a senior housing complex.
News 10: Healthy Alliance launches new program to support pregnant women (10/4) - A coalition of 15 local organizations, convened by Healthy Alliance, will be launching the Schenectady Maternal and Child Health Community Health Worker (CHW) Hub for at-risk pregnant women in Schenectady County. The program aims to support women throughout their pregnancy and up to one year following childbirth, with the ultimate goal of improving birth outcomes and patient experience.
American Hospital Association: Partnering with Area Agencies on Aging – Tactics for Success (10/3) – This episode of the American Hospital Association Advancing Health podcast features a conversation that explores the ways in which hospitals and health systems are partnering with Area Agencies on Aging to address the social and non-medical needs for older individuals, as well as tips on some common pitfalls to avoid in these partnerships.
Healthy Moms and Babies Act (10/10) – Sen. Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Healthy Moms and Babies Act (S. 5015) to improve maternal and child health care. The bill would aim to improve the delivery of high-quality coordinated care, supporting women and babies with 21st century technology, and taking other steps to reduce maternal mortality. SummarySection-by-Section
SNAP Access for Medically Vulnerable Children Act (10/7) - Rep. Brown (D-OH) introduced the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Access for Medically Vulnerable Children Act (H.R. 9144), which would allow households with children with chronic medical conditions to deduct allowable medical expenses incurred by such household member that exceeds $35 per month.
To view a full list of the legislation we are tracking around social determinants of health, health equity/disparities, and maternal health, click here.
HHS ASPE: Linking Medicaid Claims, Birth Certificates, and Other Sources to Advance Maternal and Infant Health (10/13) – Medicaid pays for nearly half of all births in the US, including most births by the Black and Hispanic pregnant population. Linkages of Medicaid claims with other data sources have been performed at the state level using methods that vary in complexity and match rate, which makes it difficult to create a national data source for PCOR on maternal health. This report looked to better understand the current status and identify potential next steps for a consolidated approach to performing these data linkages.
ACL: ACL Awards Nearly $17.3M to Advance Equity and Inclusion for People with Disabilities and Older Adults (10/13) – The Administration for Community Living (ACL) awarded nearly $16.5 million in grants over five years to establish and maintain four national resource centers to support the work of advancing equity and inclusion for people with disabilities who also face barriers due to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, language spoken, and other factors.
CMS: A Case Study on Engaging Clinical and Community Partners to Identify a Common Referral Platform (10/11) – CMS published a new case study highlighting an example of an Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model bridge organization – United Way of Greater Cleveland – that harnessed community motivation to unite around a common referral platform. This case study provides actionable strategies that community organizations and health systems can consider as they collaboratively identify and implement community service referral platforms.
CMS: Cross-Sector Data Sharing to Address Health-Related Social Needs: Lessons Learned from the AHC Model (10/11) – CMS released a new issue brief on the AHC Model, focusing on a series of focus groups and interviews conducted in February and March of 2022 with bridge organizations, a health information exchange partner, health care provider partners, and community-based organization (CBO) partners. Discussions explored whether and how health-related social needs data were shared with clinical and community partners, used to inform clinical care, or used to advance equity.
HHS: HHS Takes Action to Break Language Barriers (10/6) - HHS announced actions to improve meaningful communication with limited English proficient (LEP) individuals by relaunching its Language Access Steering Committee to support HHS’ implementation of language access obligations under various Executive Orders and the HHS Health Equity Action Plan. All HHS agencies will reassess and update their language access plans to ensure that LEP persons have meaningful access to HHS-administered health and human services programs.
HRSA: Maternal Health Quality Improvement Fund (10/4) - HRSA announced a $25 million grant opportunity for HRSA-funded health centers to increase equitable access to maternal health care in underserved communities. Award recipients will develop and pilot innovative models of care delivery to improve health outcomes and address clinical and health-related social needs for patients at the highest risk of maternal morbidity and mortality.
ACL: ACL Announces National Transportation Accessibility Center (10/4) – ACL announced a new grant of $485,000 to develop a National Transportation Accessibility Center (NTAC). This award seeks to expand access to transportation for people with disabilities and older adults by increasing awareness and adoption of transportation accessibility strategies, inclusive planning, and mobility on demand transportation systems.
HHS: HHS Announces LEAP in Health IT Awardees Focused on Health Equity (10/3) – The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) announced two awards totaling $2 million under the Leading Edge Acceleration Projects in Health Information Technology (LEAP in Health IT) funding opportunity. The 2022 awardees are: Area 1 – Address health equity and SDOH though innovative, open-source technology tools and EHRs; and Area 2 – Demonstrate the use of equity-enhancing patient-generated health data for clinical care and research.
CMS: Minority Research Grant Program (10/3) - The CMS Office of Minority Health announced grantees for the Minority Research Grant Program (MRGP). Each grantee will receive $333,000 in funding to support their projects, which will examine public health disparities and increase health equity research capacities at minority-serving institutions.
HHS: HHS Awards Organizations Advancing Community-Driven Approaches to Tackling Structural Racism (10/3) – The HHS Office of Minority Health announced more than $4.8 million in grants to 10 organizations under its Community-Driven Approaches to Address Factors Contributing to Structural Racism in Public Health initiative. The grant money will support a three-year OMH initiative that intends to identify new and innovative ways to address policies that may create or perpetuate health disparities and may contribute to structural racism.
SDoH & Health Equity in the News
Pew Charitable Trusts: Doctors Prescribe Healthy Meals to Keep Patients Out of the Hospital (10/12) – Over the past decade, about a dozen states have combined Medicaid and other funding to offer medically tailored meals and other nutrition programs on a limited basis. However, none of these states have made nutrition services available to substantial numbers of patients, as new efforts in several states, including Oregon and Massachusetts and later this year in New York and Washington, would do.
Health Affairs: Population-Based Payment Models Can Streamline Care and Reduce Inequities for Children with Medical Complexity (10/12) - Children with medical complexity (CMC) represent a small but growing population and a disproportionate amount of pediatric health care costs, yet the health care system and supporting policy infrastructure have not kept pace with the needs of CMS and their families. This article outlines multiple lessons that can be applied from adult population-based payment models, including incorporating social risk and a focus on equity, and considerations specific to the pediatric population.
Health Affairs: Community-Level Actions on the Social Determinants of Health: A Typology for Hospitals (10/11) – Hospitals and health systems are engaged in a range of activities to address SDOH at the community level, however there is no organizing framework to describe these activities. This article proposes a typology that classifies eight key strategies into three categories, the goal of which is to define and differentiate hospitals’ community-level SDOH activities and provide a common language to help advance practice, policy, and research in this space.
JAMA Network Open: Addressing Social Needs Through MA Plans’ Supplemental Benefits – A Potential Not Yet Realized (10/6) – This commentary on a recent study of nonmedical supplemental benefits offered in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans outlines several potential solutions to improving the policy landscape to increase supplemental benefit adoption among MA plans. This includes collecting more data to understand what these benefits include and how many beneficiaries use them, more clarity from CMS to MA plans on how such benefits can be paid for, and how community-based organizations and MA plans can better partner to offer these benefits.
Grocery Dive: Inside Kroger Health’s Food-as-MedicinePlaybook (10/3) – Kroger Health sees its food-as-medicine work as a major solution to the fragmented health care system and nutrition access inequities across the U.S. In an effort to create personalized and affordable offerings aimed at disease prevention, Kroger Health is turning to a wide range of efforts from shelf tags to its OptUp nutritional scoring system to dietitian counseling.
Commonwealth Fund: Making the Business Case for Social Needs Interventions (9/30) - The business case is clear: helping people find safe housing or healthy food reduces use of high-cost health care services and yields savings for health care organizations. The Commonwealth Fund published a newly updated evidence guide and a companion return-on-investment calculator, which can help health care organizations plan their investments in social need interventions.
Spotlight on Maternal Health
Wisconsin Department of Health Services: Gov. Evers, DHS Announce $16M Investment in Maternal and Child Health (10/12) – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and Governor Tony Evers announced $16 million in grants to improve and close gaps in maternal and child health outcomes. This will provide funding to DHS’ Maternal and Child Health Program to administer a grant program, which will fund maternal and child health equity initiatives intended to combat maternal and infant mortality at the community and systems-level and strengthen health outcomes for families across Wisconsin.
March of Dimes: Third Maternity Care Deserts Report Reveals Access to Care Is Getting Worse During COVID-19 (10/11) – March of Dimes released a report
on maternity care deserts across the US, which revealed that access to maternity care is diminishing in places where it’s needed most, impacting nearly seven million American women of childbearing age and roughly 500,000 babies. The report showed a two percent increase in counties classified as maternity care deserts since the organization’s 2020 report, primarily driven by hospital and maternity care unit closures and loss of obstetrics providers.
New Research and Reports
JAMA Network Open: Examination of Differences in Nonmedical Supplemental Benefit Coverage for Dual-Eligible Enrollees in MA Plans in 2021 (10/6) – This study examined how coverage of nonmedical supplemental benefits in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans differed for dual-eligible beneficiaries enrolled in dual-eligible special needs plans (D-SNPs), fully integrated dual-eligible SNPs (FIDE-SNPs), and general MA plans in 2021. The study found that MA plans exclusively serving dual-eligible beneficiaries offered more nonmedical supplemental benefits than general MA plans, however this coverage was low. The most common benefits were for food and produce, meal delivery, and nonmedical transportation.
Current Protocols: Inclusion of Social and Structural Determinants of Health to Advance Understanding of their Influence on Biology of Chronic Disease (10/6) – This study considers a precision health framework to describe how SDOH contributes to physiologic pathways that lead to chronic disease. This overview aims to inform basic life science and translational researchers about SDOH exposures that can confound associations between classic biomedical determinants of disease and health outcomes, and provides common approaches to measure SDOH factors at individual and population levels and review associations between SDOH risk factors and chronic disease.
Fierce Healthcare: JAMA study finds medical debt a predictor of housing and food insecurity (10/5) – A study
published in JAMA found a link between patients’ medical debt and a higher risk of experiencing housing and food insecurity. Of the 142,000 adults surveyed, 18 percent held medical debt, which was found to be a predictor of worsening social determinants of health. Decreases in health status and coverage loss left those surveyed with a 1.7-fold to 3.1-fold higher risk of worsening housing and food insecurity.
Healthcare Leadership Council: Addressing U.S. Health Disparities Will Require Action on Multiple Fronts (10/4) – The Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC) released a new report
identifying multiple structural barriers in both the private and public sectors that contribute to existing health disparities and offering recommendations for both industry and government to achieve broader health equity. The report identified challenges such as a lack of standardization regarding data collection, sharing, and outcome measures, insufficient training and incentives for organizations to advance equity, and regulatory restrictions.
Center for Health Care Strategies: Centering Lived Experiences to Address Food Insecurity (October 2022) - As state Medicaid agencies increasingly focus on moving upstream to improve the health of the people they serve, there is a growing recognition that centering individual and community voices in policymaking is critical to address health inequities, including food insecurity. This new series shares the voices of people with direct experience using public programs, such as Medicaid, SNAP, and WIC, on the value of cross-program coordination and incorporating lived expertise into policymaking and implementation processes to address food insecurity.
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.