Mobi Health News: Socially Determined and Datavant Partner on SDOH data (1/17) – Socially Determined
announced a partnership with data sharing technology startup Datavant to provide curated, de-identified and linkable social risk data on the patient-level to improve health equity and patient outcomes. The partnership will enable accurate linkage of social risk data with health data to understand social inequities that impact health outcomes.
Contexture: Arizona Community-Based Organizations Can Earn $10K Through CommunityCares Program (1/12) – Contexture, Arizona’s health information exchange and host of CommunityCares, which is powered by Unite Us and is a statewide referral system designed to address social determinants of health, announced the launch of two new programs designed to provide financial benefits to community-based organizations that join the CommunityCares system and contribute to the growth of the network.
New Orleans: Blue Cross, Healthy Blue and Entergy Sponsoring 200,000 Meals for Louisiana Families (1/9) – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, a health plan of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Healthy Blue and Entergy partnered to sponsor 200,000 meals at food banks across Louisiana. “We know food insecurity is a challenge for many families in our state, and the stresses of the past two years have left many Louisianians struggling to access healthy meals,” said Michael Tipton, head of Community Relations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and president of the Blue Cross Foundation.
Vizient: In Bettering Health Equity for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, There’s Strength in Numbers (1/9) - Vizient
Clinical Data Base findings revealed people with intellectual disabilities were at severe risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19. The research led to policy changes — and an ongoing mission to ensure improved health care experiences. Vizient has added disability to its equity data to help define and measure the efficacy of interventions and drive culture and policy change.
White House: Biden Administration Announces Efforts to Support Community Schools (1/18) – The Biden Administration released a fact sheet highlighting efforts to support community schools, including a toolkit
on federal resources to do so. Community schools meet the unique needs of the neighborhoods they serve by leveraging local non-profit, private sector, and public partnerships to bring wraparound services into school buildings, such as mental health supports, dental services, and assistance with shelter and nutrition.
SAMHSA: Expanding Access to and Use of Behavioral Health Services for People At Risk for or Experiencing Homelessness (1/17) – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a guide
highlighting strategies for behavioral health and housing providers to expand access to and use of behavioral health services for people at risk for or experiencing homelessness. Strategies include conducting outreach and engaging with individuals experiencing homelessness, initiating use of behavioral health treatment as they wait to receive stable housing, and retaining them in their recovery efforts once housed. Guide Overview
HHS ASPE: Leading Practices to Advance Equity and Support of Underserved Communities (1/13) – The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) released a guide on leading practices to advance equity and support of underserved communities through health and human services programs. Health and human services programs can consider equity to be both an approach to how they think about the work and a goal to understand what people need to enjoy full, healthy lives. This page contains concrete tools that health and human services programs can use to consider equity throughout their programming.
HHS: Biden Administration Proposes Restoring Protections for Beneficiaries of Federally Funded Social Services (1/12) - HHS, along with eight other federal agencies, issued a proposed rule to amend regulations to clarify protections for beneficiaries receiving federally funded social services and the rights and obligations of organizations providing such services. The proposed rule would take steps to make clear that all covered social services – both those supported by vouchers and grants – may not discriminate against beneficiaries on the basis of religion, among other areas.
USDA: USDA and National Urban League Partner to Promote Equity, Increase Nutrition Security and Expand Services in Underserved Communities (1/11) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to reaffirm and strengthen the relationship between USDA and the National Urban League. Through this effort, USDA and the National Urban League will work collaboratively to promote nutrition and food insecurity, increase access to healthy foods, and ensure equitable service delivery of USDA programs in underserved communities.
Department of Veterans Affairs: VA Proposes Rule That Would Waive Copays for Eligible Native American and Alaska Native Veterans (1/11) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a proposed rule that would waive copayments incurred on or after Jan. 5, 2022, for eligible American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans. The intent of this policy is to encourage Veterans to seek regular primary care treatment, which can yield better health outcomes.
White House: Biden Administration Announces New Actions to Advance Open and Equitable Research (1/11) – The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced new actions to advance open and equitable research, including new grant funding and expanded opportunities for public engagement. OSTP is also launching the Year of Open Science, featuring actions across the federal government throughout 2023 to drive more equitable outcomes, among other priorities.
CMS: CMS Awards 200 New Medicare-funded Residency Slots to Hospitals Serving Underserved Communities (1/9) - CMS awarded the first 200 of 1,000 Medicare-funded physician residency slots to enhance the health care workforce and fund additional positions in hospitals serving underserved communities. Approximately three-quarters of the new positions will be for primary care and mental health specialties.
SDoH & Health Equity in the News
World Economic Forum: Why health equity requires aligning health with social care (1/11) – In this op-ed, Hackensack Meridian Health CEO, Robert Garrett, highlights the importance of keeping communities healthier through greater prevention of illness, earlier detection of disease, and more targeted and effective treatment. Garrett notes that we must address the fragmentation of health and social care by implementing processes that close the gap between medical and non-medical determinants of health to improve outcomes and deliver more value.
Journal of General Internal Medicine: Viewpoint: Housing Investment Strategies by Healthcare Payers and Systems (1/10) – The funneling of health care dollars by health systems and companies towards housing demands an understanding of the policy and financial levers used to invest in housing. Programmatic improvements to protect and improve patient well-being will provide policymakers a better understanding of which approach, if any, health care entities—in collaboration with government agencies and community-based organizations—should leverage to create housing and improve health.
Humana: Humana, Feeding America Partner to Support Mobile Food Pantries (1/10) – Humana has provided Feeding America with a $625,000 grant to address food insecurity and support mobile food pantries in nine states. These mobile deliveries will help provide food and groceries to communities in need, and the mobile food pantries typically visit areas where grocery stores are scarce to provide healthy foods to a larger population.
Health Affairs: Working with ACOs to Address Social Determinants of Health (1/10) – While there are no comprehensive data describing accountable care organizations’ (ACOs) investments in addressing SDOH, the level of activity is growing. Although health system demand for social service referrals is growing, many communities lack sufficient capacity to accommodate the new demand. This article discusses lessons learned from a group of ACO managers tasked with advancing their organizations’ efforts to integrate medical and social care.
Pharmacy Quality Alliance: PQA Expands the Social Determinants of Health Resource Guide (1/9) – The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) announced it has expanded the PQA Social Determinants of Health Resource Guide, which focuses on SDOH screenings, referrals, and interventions conducted by or involving pharmacists or pharmacies. The second edition of this guide profiles 32 SDOH services, including 12 new services and updates to nine initiatives in the first edition.
Life Sciences Intelligence: Advancing Maternal Health Equity Research, Current Gaps, and Trends (1/17) - March of Dimes recently announced it would launch its Center for Advancing Maternal Health Equity, based at the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with its Prematurity Research Centers. Given the data on maternal morbidity and mortality disparities, many providers, health care facilities, and organizations like March of Dimes have prioritized identifying and addressing preventable maternal and infant death issues.
WILX 10: Healthy moms, healthy babies initiative expands to include doula services for Medicaid recipients (1/13) - Michigan became one of the first states to support expecting mothers by covering doula services. The benefit is part of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Healthy Moms Healthy Babies initiative to help improve maternal and infant health outcomes. The state’s Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian issued a standing recommendation that doula services are medically necessary and should be offered to families covered by Medicaid insurance.
mHealth Intelligence: Northwell Health Launches AI-Based Chatbot to Reduce Maternal Mortality (1/12) – Northwell Health recently released Northwell Health Pregnancy Chats, a chatbot that aims to lower morbidity and mortality rates among pregnant women by using artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology and virtual care resources. Northwell Health created Northwell Health Pregnancy Chats to educate patients, identify urgent concerns, and, if need be, direct patients to an emergency department.
Data & Innovation
Health Leaders: CDC Releases New Diagnosis Codes for 2023 with Focus on SDOH (1/11) – The CDC recently released upcoming changes to both the ICD-10-CM diagnosis code set and official coding guidelines, which will go into effect April 1. Among these changes include a new SDOH code for reporting problems related to education and literacy, among other new codes. The ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting have been expanded to provide more guidance on reporting SDOH.
Healthcare Innovation: Notre Dame and Accenture Launch Health Equity DataLab (1/9) - The University of Notre Dame and Accenture recently announced a partnership for a health equity data lab that will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve health care for vulnerable populations. The project will convene a business forum of leaders that include academics, government, corporations, and non-governmental organizations to talk about specific community health care inequities and solutions.
JAMA Network Open: Evaluation of SDOH and Prostate Cancer Outcomes Among Black and White Patients (1/11) – This study examined whether the interaction between race and social determinants of health are associated with racial disparities in prostate cancer outcomes. The study suggests that the interaction between race and SDOH is significantly associated with racial disparities in health care, and that collecting and assessing SDOH variables in research may help to create strategies that increase health equity.
SAGE Journals: A Collaborative Pilot to Support Patients with Diabetes Through Tailored Food Box Home Delivery (1/10) – This article outlines a randomized, controlled prospective pilot study that was conducted to determine feasibility and impact of food bank and health system collaboration to home-delivered food to adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus experiencing food insecurity. Overall findings suggest it is feasible for a community food bank and nearby hospital to successfully collaborate and provide supplemental food staples to food insecure adults with type 2 diabetes and improve food insecurity and health status.
EY: How does the health equity ecosystem move from awareness to action? (1/9) – EY published the inaugural EY Center for Health Equity Annual Survey, which provides insights into how organizations are addressing the challenges of overcoming health disparities and driving toward health equity goals. The survey demonstrated strong cross-sector momentum in the health equity space. Provider, payer, public health, life sciences, not-for-profit and community organizations are developing strategies, investing in a diverse set of health equity-oriented priorities and building an infrastructure to drive efforts.
Health Affairs: Food Insecurity Was Associated With Greater Family Health Care Expenditures in the US, 2016-17 (January 2023) – This study evaluated the association between food insecurity in one year (2016) and family health care expenditures—for all members, for children only, and for adults only—in the next year (2017), along with whether this association varied across types of insurance coverage within families: all private, all public, or mixed (including uninsured). The study found that food-insecure families had 20 percent greater total health care expenditures than food-secure families, for an annual difference of $2,456.
Health Affairs: Risk Adjustment and Promoting Health Equity in Population-Based Payment (January 2023) - The objective of risk adjustment is not to predict spending accurately but to support the social goals of a payment system, which include equity. Setting population-based payments at accurate predictions risks entrenching spending levels that are insufficient to mitigate the impact of social determinants on health care use and effectiveness. To advance equity, payments must be set above current levels of spending for historically disadvantaged groups, which this analysis examines.