3M: A view of SDOH through the eyes of a social worker (8/15) – 3M has published a new blog interview series featuring Amanda Steffon, project manager and member of the 3M clinical terminology team, on the role social determinants of health (SDOH) has played in her career as a social worker. Part 1 of this series talks about the gaps and opportunities related to SDOH, and Part 2 focuses on the gaps in SDOH data collection and top priorities for SDOH in the future.
Unite Us: How Giving Kitchen is Helping Food Service Workers Thrive (8/15) – The Unite Us
Power in Partnership series highlights national community-based organization partnerships and the work they do to build healthier communities. This blog spotlights Giving Kitchen, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance to food service workers through financial support and a network of community resources through its Stability Network, which partners with Unite Us to expand its library of resources.
American Hospital Association: Making an Impact to Advance Health Equity (8/8) – The American Hospital Association (AHA) believes that tackling health disparities and promoting diversity within health care leadership is critical to ensuring high-quality care for all. The AHA recently awarded its 2022 Equity of Care Award to Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, recognizing the system for its Road Map for Action that outlines specific strategies to drive change around health equity.
Senator Murray Pushes for More Action on Affordable Housing: (8/17) – Senator Murray (D-WA) hosted a roundtable at the Housing Authority of Thurston County with local housing leaders to discuss how the American Rescue Plan has helped deliver critical relief, prevent evictions, and put more people in safe, affordable homes. Senator Murray highlighted her continued commitment to smart, just housing policy and bold investments from the federal government in affordable housing, and increased housing supply.
Community Mentor for Moms Act: (8/5) – Rep. Miller (R-WV) introduced the Community Mentors for Moms Act (H.R. 8669), which would create a grant program to fund community-based integrated maternal mentoring services and programs for low-income mothers. Sen. Rubio (R-FL) introduced companion legislation in the Senate (S. 4761).
Fair Access to Co-Ops for Veterans Act: (8/5) – Rep. Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Fair Access to Co-Ops for Veterans Act (H.R. 8668), which would permanently expand the Veterans Affairs’ Home Loan Guaranty Program to include cooperative housing.
To view a full list of the legislation we are tracking around social determinants of health, health equity/disparities, and maternal health, click here.
CMS: CMS releases information to states on partnership opportunity with state nutrition agencies (8/18) – CMS released an Informational Bulletin to states regarding a solicitation to participate in a demonstration project that the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has issued for states to use Medicaid eligibility data to qualify children for free and reduced price school meals. The CIB also reminds states that they are permitted to share Medicaid data to verify a child’s school meal eligibility in accordance with federal Medicaid law.
ONC: Electronic Public Health Reporting & Recording of Social & Behavioral Determinants of Health Among Office-Based Physicians, 2019 (8/18) – ONC released a data brief and corresponding blog post describing primary care and other office-based physicians’ electronic public health reporting and social and behavioral determinants of health data recording capabilities and how they varied by physician and practice characteristics. Findings include that 69 percent of physicians reported using a computerized system to electronically record data on SDOH in 2019.
CMS: HHS Approves 12-Month Extension of Postpartum Medicaid and CHIP Coverage in HI, MD, and OH (8/16) – CMS approved the extension of Medicaid and CHIP coverage for 12 months after pregnancy in Hawaii, Maryland, and Ohio. As a result, up to an additional 34,000 people annually will now be eligible for Medicaid or Title XXI-funded Medicaid expansion CHIP coverage for a full year after pregnancy.
ONC: How University of Michigan’s Health Equity Dashboard Helps Identify Disparities in ED Care (8/11) - ONC published a blog on the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School’s development of an EHR-derived health equity dashboard that allows for the exploration of disparities in emergency department care.
HHS: Federal Health Agencies Unveil National Tool to Measure Health Impacts of Environmental Burden (8/10) – The CDC, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and HHS’ Office of Environmental Justice announced the release of the Environmental Justice Index (EJI). The EJI provides a single environmental justice score for local communities to identify and map areas most at risk for the health impacts of environmental burden.
ONC: Project US@ - Advancing Health Equity Requires Better Data (8/9) - ONC provided an update on ProjectUS@, an effort to standardize patient addresses to improve patient matching. Version 2.0 of the Project US@ Technical Specification is expected to be released in 2023 and will include recommendations from consumer engagement subject matter experts, including around centering health equity by exploring ways to support patients experiencing homelessness and other factors.
Health Affairs: Lessons From Five Years of the CMS Accountable Health Communities Model (8/8) - CMS published a blog in Health Affairs on the lessons learned from five years of CMS’ Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model. The blog outlines key evaluation findings to-date, promising practices that providers and payers can implement to address health-related social needs in their patient populations, and how lessons learned are being embedded across CMS.
HHS: HHS Awards Nearly $90M to Community Health Centers to Advance Health Equity through Better Data (8/8) - HHS awarded nearly $90 million in American Rescue Plan funding to nearly 1,400 community health centers across the country to advance health equity through better data collection and reporting.
SDoH & Health Equity in the News
Healthcare Innovation: NY Survey Highlights Relationship of Food Insecurity, Healthcare (8/17) – The New York Health Foundation recently conducted a survey that highlighted the ways in which food insecurity and poor health care are interconnected. The survey found that 21 percent of people that identified as food insecure noted they skip or delay medical care, and 13 percent delay or do not purchase prescription medication.
Modern Healthcare: Getting it done – Targeting the social determinants through intervention, education (8/16) - Studies have long tied social, environmental and economic factors to poor health and reduced access to care. In this article, Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Robert Garrett discusses how the New Jersey-based system made addressing the social determinants of health a top priority, and how he and his team are getting it done.
Michigan Health and Human Services: MDHHS forms 11 Regional Health Equity Advisory Councils (8/10) – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced the formation of 11 Regional Health Equity Advisory Councils designed to help combat health disparities in underserved and rural areas across the state. These councils will provide a network of trusted community partners that will help improve structural gaps in current and emerging health emergencies.
PR Newswire: The Physicians Foundation Announces Key Advancements in Addressing Social Drivers of Health (8/9) – The Physicians Foundation announced key advancements as part of its comprehensive recommendations to address social drivers of health. This includes the first-ever SDOH measure set adopted by CMS to be included in federal payment programs, and a new grant program for medical associations to develop state-level capacity, resources, and data-collection to support physicians in integrating SDOH screenings and resource navigation into their medical practices.
Health Affairs: Filling the Gaps – The Role and Value of Supplemental Benefits in Medicare Advantage (8/5) – Medicare Advantage (MA) supplemental benefits have evolved considerably over the years thanks to action by Congress to allow MA plans to offer special supplemental benefits for the chronically ill that are not primarily health related, such as food, non-medical transportation, pest control, companion care, and rent subsidies. This article outlines challenges in evaluating the impact of non-medical supplemental benefits and the infrastructure needed to do so.
STAT: Addressing social drivers of health is a big opportunity for tech entrepreneurs (8/4) – While improving social drivers of health has typically been a matter for public health departments, this article argues that the best way to understand and address social drivers and health inequity today are by building companies that profitably undertake solving such issues. This would require an ecosystem of interoperating companies and technologies, and radical collaboration with existing health care systems, to collect data on social drivers and connect more individuals to social services.
Spotlight on Maternal Health
Fierce Healthcare: BCBS of Michigan taps Maven for new integrated family planning, maternity program (8/10) – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan announced it will roll out a new family building and maternity support program. The platform, launched in partnership with Maven Clinic, will allow members to access a personalized app that guides them through the family planning process including pregnancy, postpartum, and pediatrics.
Washington Post: America has a maternal mortality crisis. Biden push aims to change that (8/9) – The Biden Administration recently released its 70-page plan to address the maternal health crisis, but maternal health experts say it remains to be seen whether this initiative is enough to accomplish the Administration’s goals. Experts say this blueprint is a step on the way toward more sweeping societal changes needed to cut rates of maternal mortality and morbidity and reduce persistent racial disparities.
Health Affairs: Patients Lift Their Voices to Advance Maternal Health (August 2022) - Designed by and for Black women, a St. Louis–based group prenatal care program incorporates trauma-informed care and behavioral health services. EleVATE, a maternal health program launched in 2016, aims to improve maternal and infant health outcomes by engaging the community as a partner.
August is National Breastfeeding Month - a time for collective action and advocacy to create a landscape of support for new families. Learn more here.
Data and Innovation
Modern Healthcare: The Joint Commission to add health equity standards to accreditations (8/12) – The Joint Commission has established new accreditation standards to accelerate equity efforts within health care organizations beginning on January 1. The updated standards include designating an officer to lead a strategy for reducing health disparities and screening patients for SDOH. The commission is also requiring accredited organizations to add demographic breakdowns to quality and safety data to assist in identifying (and developing an action plan to eliminate) disparities in health outcomes.
Healthcare Innovation: CDC SDOH Workgroup Identifies Public Health Use Cases (8/11) – The CDC SDOH Public Health Use Case Workgroup has developed a SDOH public health business case and designed three public health-focused use cases for chronic disease prevention and health promotion that extend on those developed for clinical care by the HL7 Gravity Project. The use cases focus on functionality and interoperability required to allow an end-user to send and exchange coded SDOH-related data.
Health Affairs: Podcast – New HEDIS Measures Emphasize Health Equity with Eric Schneider (8/5) – NCQA recently updated measures in the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), including measures related to health equity for data and quality measurement. NCQA Executive Vice President Eric Schneider joined the Health Affairs This Week podcast to discuss the measurement changes.
Health Affairs: Predicting Race and Ethnicity to Ensure Equitable Algorithms for Health Care Decision Making (August 2022) – Algorithms are currently used to assist in a wide array of health care decisions. Despite the general utility of these health care algorithms, there is growing recognition that they may lead to unintended racially discriminatory practices, raising concerns about the potential for algorithmic bias. This commentary describes two applications in which imputation of race and ethnicity can help mitigate potential algorithmic biases: equitable disease screening algorithms using machine learning and equitable pay-for-performance incentives.
New Research and Reports
American Journal of Preventive Medicine: Understanding Patients’ Interest in Assistance with Social Risks Identified in Health Care Settings (8/17) – The American Journal of Preventive Medicine and SIREN released a series of studies related to patients’ interest in social assistance within the health care setting. The studies address questions such as why patients decline social needs assistance offered by health care staff, how health care staff can improve acceptance and uptake of social risk assistance, and how to move from just screening for social needs to referral and receipt of services.
Patient Engagement HIT: SDOH Screening Questions Accurately Predict Future Homelessness (8/17) – According to new data in JAMA Network Open, researchers may have uncovered two new SDOH screening questions to ask in the emergency department to accurately predict future homelessness. The study found that those responding yes to a SDOH screening question about being worried about becoming homeless in the next two months had a higher likelihood of that homelessness coming to fruition, suggesting promise for such questions serving as an intervention point for at-risk individuals.
JAMA Network: Aligning Value-Based Payments with Health Equity – A Framework for Reforming Payment Reforms (8/15) – This Viewpoint presents a potential guiding framework of strategies that align payment model components with health equity goals. Recommendations include that spending targets should comprehensively account for patients’ clinical and social needs and to better translate social drivers of health into metrics that reflect inequity arising from health-related social needs.
Johns Hopkins Medicine: SDOH Are Important Contributors to Morality Disparities in US (8/11) – A study
from Johns Hopkins Medicine described the impact of common social disparities that are often linked to race and ethnicity, such as a person’s neighborhood or income, as important predictors of longevity. Findings revealed that Black adults had a 34 percent greater risk of death from any cause compared with white adults, however after adjusting for social disparity factors, the relative excess risk of death in Black adults fell by about half to 16 percent greater mortality.
Journal of the American Pharmacists Association: Implementation and evaluation of SDOH practice models within community pharmacy (8/8) - While community pharmacies are an ideal setting for social needs screening and referral programs, information on social risk assessment within pharmacy practice is limited. This study found that while most pharmacy staff indicated that workflow steps were clearly defined, assessments and referral tools were identified as potential gaps. Additionally, approximately 50 percent of pharmacy staff were comfortable with their assigned roles and in addressing SDOH challenges.
Center for Health Care Strategies: A Community-Centered Approach to Data Sharing and Policy Change – Lessons Learned for Advancing Health Equity (August 2022) – Sharing data across state agencies and community-based organizations (CBOs) is critical for advancing health equity and addressing complex health challenges that involve multiple sectors. Including individuals with lived expertise in data sharing and policy development can make these efforts more responsive to community needs. This issue brief highlights key lessons to inform data-sharing partnerships between CBOs, state agencies, and individuals with lived expertise and outlines data-sharing.