UPMC: UPMC AI Tool Trained on Reducing Post-Operative Deaths Shows Promise: (8/5) – A UPMC team created an artificial intelligence-based tool to establish a risk score for patients going into surgery that incorporates social determinants of health. The technology has been used for the past two years at 20 UPMC hospital cites, showing promise in better predicting patient mortality 30-days post surgery.
Vizient: Vizient’s Annual CSR Report Highlights Progress in Improving Health Equity and Sustainability in Healthcare Sector (8/9) –
Vizient issued its annual report highlighting its role in preventing 27,024 emergency department revisits in 2022 through its Health Equity Performance Improvement Collaborative.
CareSource: CareSource Foundation Invests in Appalachian Children Coalition (8/15) – CareSource announced $40,000 in funding to the Appalachian Children Coalition to support its work to expand access to behavioral health services and other supports for children across Ohio’s Appalachian region.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association: Blue Cross Program Helps Doctors Close Social Needs Gaps for Patients
(8/15) – BCBSA member Blue Shield of Michigan shares the impact of a new social risk adjustment initiative that provides funds to physician organizations to address specific needs unique to the communities they serve.
American Hospital Association: AHA Responds to CMS' Episode Based Payment Model Request for Information (8/17) – The AHA responded to a request for information (RFI) from CMS, detailing the organization’s perspective on several health equity and HRSN-related issues raised in the RFI.
Nurses Utilizing Resources for SNAP Education (NURSE) Act (7/26) – Text recently became available for Sens. Ben Ray Luján (D-MN) and Peter Welch’s (D-VT) NURSE Act (S. 2536), which would require the Secretary of Agriculture to provide training materials for the use of health care professionals to inform their patients about the availability of benefits under the supplemental nutrition assistance program.
State News: Senators push IRS to launch nonprofit hospital probe (8/8) – Nonprofit hospitals are often subsidized by state or federal funding and exempt from many taxes and in return, they aid their surrounding area through public health programs and providing free or discounted care to low-income patients. However, advocates have long argued that the tax code’s broad definition of community benefits has hospitals logging costs like physician training and research rather than direct community benefits like health screenings, free clinics, and care for the uninsured. A group of bipartisan senators sent letters calling for an investigation into “overly broad” tax wording and oversight of roughly $28 billion in exemptions.
HHS:Readout of HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra's Visit to Seattle to Host APEC’s High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy (SOM3 2023) (8/7) – Secretary Xavier Becerra hosted his global health counterparts from around the world for the High-Level Meeting on Health and the Economy (HLMHE) during which he discussed the importance of health equity in the economy.
Medicaid.gov: Increasing Access, Quality, and Equity in Postpartum Care in Medicaid and CHIP A Toolkit for State Medicaid and CHIP Agencies (8/8) – This toolkit provides practical information to help state Medicaid and CHIP agencies maximize the use of existing authorities to increase postpartum care access, quality, and equity for Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries. The toolkit also includes a strategy checklist and suggestions for partnering with Medicaid and CHIP managed care plans to implement quality improvement (QI) strategies.
HHS: Helping People with Low Incomes Navigate Benefit Cliffs: Lessons Learned Deploying a Marginal Tax Rate Calculator
(8/9) – HHS released a calculator to help people anticipate how a change in earning from employment would affect their net income, and in so doing, provide public benefit recipients with their estimated effective marginal tax rate on new earnings.
CMS:Social Determinants of Health Items: Determining When a Proxy Response is Allowed (8/10) – CMS created a short, animated explainer video was developed to assist providers in accurately determining when the use of a proxy response is allowed for the following SDOH factors: ethnicity, race, language, transportation, health literacy, and social isolation.
CMS: Making Care Primary Request for Applications (8/14) – CMMI issued a Request for Applications (RFA) for its Making Care Primary (MCP), a new CMMI advanced primary care model with a focus on health equity that aims to reduce program expenditures and improve key measures of patient outcomes through more coordinated, integrated, whole-person care. Applications are due by November 30.
CMS: ACO REACH Model Performance Year 2024 (PY2024) Model Updates (8/15) – CMS announced changes to the Accountable Care Organization Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health (ACO REACH) Model starting in performance year 2024 that are expected to improve the model in several ways, including by further advancing health equity.
SDoH & Health Equity in the News
Kaiser Family Foundation: Spending on Medicare Advantage Quality Bonus Payments Will Reach at Least $12.8 Billion in 2023 (8/9) – In its new report on MA bonus payment trends, KFF noted low payments for special needs plans, which enroll higher need and more vulnerable beneficiaries, which raises potential concerns about the implications of the quality bonus program for equity.
Michigan Medicine: Can AI help hospitals spot patients in need of extra non-medical assistance? (8/9) - A new study points to another possible use of AI: identifying patients with non-medical needs that could affect their health and ability to receive care. These social determinants of health – everything from transportation and housing to food supply and availability of family and friends as supports – can play a major role in a patient’s health and use of health care services.
Health Affairs: Strengthening Public Health Through Collaboration with Primary care: Lessons From the States (8/14) – Author describe the levers and tools states are using to connect public health and primary care and to illuminate approaches that could be adopted or adapted by other states, including the importance of partnering with community based organizations, connecting data systems, and ensuring structural integration.
The Hill: Research suggests link between fracking, rare childhood cancers (8/16) – New research from the University of Pittsburgh suggests fracking may increase the risk of rare cancers and asthma. The incidence rate of lymphoma is about 0.0012 percent for Americans younger than 20 years old. “People with asthma have a 4 to 5 times greater chance of having an asthma attack if they live near unconventional natural gas development during the production phase,” the release read.
Health Affairs: How Can We Tur the Tide on Health Equity? (8/16) – In this Health Affairs Forefront piece, authors argue that to achieve greater representation in health care—in terms of ethnic and racial backgrounds, languages, gender identities, sexual orientations, neurodiversity, and more—we need to strengthen workforce pathways to cultivate and retain the next generation of practitioners.
New Research and Reports
Health Affairs: Tying Equity to Reimbursements
(8/7) – Before CMS implements its set of new and revised provisions targeting specific pathways that are set to enhance health equity, researchers assert that several key decisions are yet to be made, which could derail this promising initiative’s ability to make meaningful inroads toward health equity.
BMJ: Association of neighborhood social determinants of health, race and ethnicity, and severe maternal morbidity on the frequency of emergency department visits and preventable emergency department visits among pregnant individuals (8/9) – Researchers found that individuals who identified as non-Hispanic Black experienced higher frequency of ED use across all levels of neighborhood deprivation, and the ED use among non-Hispanic Black individuals in least deprived neighborhoods were higher than or similar to individuals who identified with other racial and ethnic groups who lived in the most deprived neighborhoods.
Cornell University: Large Language Models to Identify Social Determinants of Health in Electronic Health Records (8/11) – This article deduced that fine-tuned language models were able to extract SDOH information from clinic notes, and performed better and more robustly than much larger language models in the zero- and few-shot settings.
Trust for America’s Health: Ensuring Age-Friendly Public Health in Rural Communities: Challenges, Opportunities, and Model Programs (8/14) – TFAH issued a brief on the health and wellness of older adults, which outlines the status of older adults living in rural environments and opportunities for public health to support them.
Neurology.org:Advancing Health Equity in Neurologic Disorders and Stroke (8/15) – Researchers analyzed the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) RFI input from the public—including health care providers, researchers, patients, patient advocates, caregivers, advocacy organizations, professional societies, and private and academic stakeholders with an interest in health disparities in neurologic disease.
December 4-6 – RISE and Aligning for Health, “Social Determinants of Health Policy Forum.” Aligning for Health is thrilled to be partnering with RISE for the Second Annual Social Determinants of Health Policy Forum this December, where we will convene leading policymakers with cross-sector practitioners to identify opportunities and advance policies that support stronger communities, better health, and solutions to address health and social needs.