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Social Determinants Updates

October 2 to October 16, 2020

Welcome to Aligning for Health's Social Determinants Updates newsletter.

In this newsletter you will find updates on how the health care organizations are striving to meet health and social needs and invest in community health to improve health equity, as well as other notable links to research, data, and news related to social determinants, and upcoming virtual events and opportunities.

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Member News

AHA: (10/14) – AFH member American Hospital Association released two episodes on their new podcast discussing how hospital and health system boards have made community health a strategic priority for their organizations, and how they prioritize, collaborate, measure and fund these important efforts in partnership with community stakeholders.

Patient Engagement HIT: (10/14) – AFH member Alliance for Better Health CEO Dr. Jacob Reider discusses how Healthy Alliance IPA creates partnerships and test pilots that better address patients’ health and social needs and provide a return on investment

Patient Engagement HIT: (10/9) – Data from AFH member American Hospital Association is featured in the article on how social determinants of health affect patient wellness. AHA found that 3.6 million individuals and four percent of children missed an appointment because they lacked access to transportation.

Forbes: (10/8) – COVID-19 has served as a call to action for digital health companies to use technology to identify and address social needs. Technological developments - such as NowPow’s personalized community referral platform that connects patients with social services and AFH member Unite Us’ coordinated care networks of health and social service providers - are helping to address health inequities in a systematic way.

Fierce Healthcare: (10/5) – Independence Blue Cross is partnering with AFH member Signify Health to launch a community health network that aims to better coordinate services for members’ socioeconomic needs.

UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care: (October 2020) AFH Member UPMC released a report reviewing social needs interventions for adults living with disabilities. The review found that much of the research surrounding social determinants of health and health outcomes have focused on older adults living with disabilities, with limited evidence for SDOH intervention outcomes for persons of all ages living with disabilities.

Webinar and Slides Available
AFH Fall Social Determinants Forum: Health and Housing

On September 28, Aligning for Health hosted our Fall Social Determinants Forum. The event convened a cross-sector conversation on health and housing, led by several of our key partners with expertise in this area. The recording of the webinar and slides can be found here; other health and housing literature and resources can be found here..

Click to View Health and Housing Page

SDoH in the News

HHS: (10/15) – HHS announced an $8 million contract with Premier, Inc to improve maternal health data collection and quality improvement and create a network of at least 200 hospitals to deploy clinical, evidence-based best practices in maternity care.

Fierce Healthcare: (10/14) –RWJBarnabas Health system in New Jersey launched a new Health Beyond the Hospital (HBTH) program, which will screen every patient for social determinants of health and refer them to any needed social services to address their needs. This program will be the first “end-to-end, universally applied, culturally-tailored and fully integrated” social determinants program in the U.S.

Healthcare IT News: (10/14) – In a virtual session held during the HIMSS Deep Dive: Global Health Equity Week, lawmakers and leaders from the HIMSS Global Health Equity Network outlined actions they are taking to address disparities in access to care and maternal mortality among Black women.

Health Payer Intelligence: (10/13) – Two health plans, Blue Shield Promise and LA Care, turned to virtual health to connect members to social needs resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. The payers are now exploring ways to integrate virtual and in-person community supports and services.

American Medical Association: (10/13) – Henry Ford Health System opened in 1915 to improve the health of the community in Detroit. Today, it is still focused on improving health and well-being within the community through programs such as the At Your Door: Food & More program that provides contact-free deliveries of food during COVID-19 and the Women-Inspired Neighborhood (WIN) Network to cut infant mortality in the city

BioSpace: (10/13) – Kaiser Permanente released a COVID-19 Social Health Playbook, which provides tools and guidance to clinical care teams for screening patients for social needs during the pandemic and connecting them with resources to ensure such needs are met. This is a publicly available resource that care providers across the industry can utilize.

The Salamanca Press: (10/13) – New York Presbyterian launched the new Dalio Center for Health Justice to better understand and improve health equity and drive action that would improve health outcomes.

Patient Engagement HIT: (10/9) – Health-related social needs can impact the success of value-based care arrangements, leading to greater attention to models that address social needs.

Fierce Healthcare: (10/8) – Anthem announced it will expand its slate of benefit programs to target social needs for MA beneficiaries in more geographies in 2021. COVID-19 sparked the need to increase such offerings and ensure that they are not impeded as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

U.S. News & World Report: (10/8) – Health care payers and providers are partnering to address social needs within their communities to improve health and lower costs. This article highlights investments Optum, Providence, Atrium Health, and Kaiser Permanente are making in their communities to address health disparities and social needs.

CATO Institute: (10/7) – California implemented a COVID-19 health equity metric, which would require counties in the state to prove they are investing in eliminating disparities in virus transmission rates in disadvantaged communities before being approved to reopen economic activity.

Patient Engagement HIT: (10/6) – New research from Health Affairs revealed that health disparities and health inequity begin during childhood and are impacted largely by race and geographic location. Population- and place-based community health interventions could help mitigate the impact of certain adverse childhood events.

Business Wire: (10/6) – A joint venture between the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF), and the National Affordable Housing Trust (NAHT) will invest $1 billion to build and preserve 10,000 affordable homes and to address economic, health and racial inequities across the country.

Brookings Institute: (10/5) – A recent webinar and study from Brookings shows techniques the government can use to braid and blend funds from different sectors and agencies to address social determinants of health.

The White House: (10/5) – President Trump signed the Executive Order on Saving Lives Through Increased Support for Mental and Behavioral Health Needs. The order focuses on preventing suicides, drug-related deaths, and poor behavioral health outcomes and would establish a Coronavirus Mental Health Working Group to facilitate a government-wide response to mental health conditions exacerbated by the pandemic.

Business Wire: (10/5) – An analysis by Kantar Health’s Social Determinants of Telehealth monitor revealed significant differences in telehealth usage among groups that may impact and further inequities in overall health outcomes.

Modern Healthcare: (10/5) – Local pharmacies can play an important role in expanding primary care access in their communities, largely due to their connection to stakeholders within the health care system. Pharmacies can increase access to convenient care and improve health equity within medically underserved communities or areas experiencing provider shortages.

American Academy of Pediatrics: (10/1) – Value-based care programs within pediatrics have focused on addressing social determinants of health that correlate with adverse physical and emotional outcomes. This report provides an equity lens for identifying and addressing social needs within pediatric value-based care.

 Data Collection and Innovation

EHR Intelligence: (10/14) – EHR vendor Cerner has unveiled plans to launch a new software tool to target social determinants of health and identify areas of need. Cerner will use the CDC Social Vulnerability Index to show racial health disparities, age groups, chronic conditions, emergency visits, and vulnerabilities per area code in EHR dashboards.

Fierce Healthcare: (10/8) – Lyft announced a partnership with Epic to help hospitals schedule rides for patients. The rideshare company will integrate with Epic’s medical records system so providers can order a ride through their EMR rather than having to open a separate tool.

Accountable Health Communities Model Findings

CMS released preliminary findings from its Accountable Health Communities (AHC) model, which was created to address health-related social needs through enhanced clinical-community linkages. Findings revealed that food insecurity is the most prevalent social need, followed by housing, transportation, utility, and safety needs.

New Research and Reports

Obstetrics & Gynecology: (10/15) – A recent study found that women with one, two, three, or more comorbidities had severe rates of severe maternal morbidity. Women with one comorbidity were 4.9 times more likely to have severe maternal morbidity, women with two comorbidities were 7.8 times more likely, and women with three comorbidities were 11.5 times more likely to have severe maternal morbidity. 

Kaiser Family Foundation: (10/14) – KFF released results from its annual 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021, highlighting how state Medicaid programs have responded to challenges brought on by COVID-19. The survey found that two-thirds of responding states implemented, expanded or reformed programs that address social determinants of health for Medicaid beneficiaries.

HRSA: (10/14) – HRSA released the 2019-2020 Report on Health Equity: Special Feature on Housing and Health Inequalities. The report indicates that progress has been made in vital indicators such as life expectancy and cardiovascular disease, but health inequities between various population groups and geographic regions have continued.

National Academy for State Health Policy: (10/12) – NASHP updated the How States Collect Data, Report, and Act on COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities interactive map, which revealed that over half of states are actively engaged in advancing equity and addressing racial and ethnic disparities in their COVID-19 responses.

National Academy for State Health Policy: (10/12) – Black women are four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to White women. NASHP published a blog outlining state strategies, such as workforce development, data collection, and quality improvement initiatives, to address the Black maternal health crisis and improve maternal health outcomes.

Nemours Children’s Health System: (10/8) – Nemours released a report on building cross-sector partnerships, highlighting lessons learned from Florida, Georgia, and Washington D.C. on aligning Medicaid and early childhood initiatives.

PR Newswire: (10/7) – The AARP Foundation and the United Health Foundation release the Pandemic Effect: A Social Isolation Report, which revealed that two-thirds of adults reported experiencing social isolation and high levels of anxiety over the course of the pandemic. To help those affected by social isolation, the foundations expanded to provide resources and guidance to address these needs.

ICF: (10/7) – Although there is evidence that health and social needs are linked, social determinants programs are not being scaled more rapidly nationwide. This white paper explores three tactics to design and implement effective and sustainable programs to address social determinants of health.

Trust for America’s Health: (10/6) – TFAH released a new report entitled The Promise of Good Health for All: Transforming Public Health in America. The report provides a blueprint for the 2021 Administration and Congress, and focuses on five key focus areas including addressing social determinants of health that result in preventable illness, injuries and death.

Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics: (10/6) – While racial health disparities are acknowledged to be caused by social factors impacting access to resources and opportunities, the root cause of these disparities as structural racism is not often highlighted. This report outlines how to reconfigure the Social Determinants of Health Framework to include structural racism as the root cause of racial inequities in health care.

Health Payer Intelligence: (10/5) – An issue brief from Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that Medicaid expansion has had mixed results in reducing health disparities in four major areas: health care coverage, access to care and utilization, patient outcomes and quality of care, and payer mix.

Congressional Budget Office: (10/2) – The CBO released its 2017 Distribution of Household Income report, which analyzes the distribution of income in the US and how it changes over time. The report revealed that income inequality rose between 1979 and 2017, with households at the top of the income distribution receiving significantly more income than households at the bottom.

CDC: (10/1) – The CDC published results from a survey studying health-related social needs during COVID-19 among low-income households with children in its Preventing Chronic Disease publication. Survey results revealed that the pandemic has had a compound effect on households with children across the spectrum of social needs, including financial stability, food security, and housing stability.

Legislative Roundup

COVID-19 Vaccine Fairness Act: (10/9) – Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) introduced the COVID-19 Vaccine Fairness Act (H.R. 8555), which would direct the Administration to develop a plan to provide states with the resources and direction needed to effectively administer the vaccine. The bill would also direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to submit a weekly report on COVID-19 vaccine distribution to Congress.

STRONG Support for Children Act: (10/6) – Reps. Pressley (D-MA) and Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Services and Trauma-informed Research of Outcomes in Neighborhood Grants for (STRONG) Support for Children Act (H.R. 8544), which would support the development and implementation of programs using data analysis to identify and facilitate strategies to improve outcomes for children in geographic areas with a high prevalence of trauma from exposure to adverse childhood experiences. Bill text One-pager Section-by-Section

Children’s Protection Act: (10/9) – Reps. Maloney (D-NY) and Pressley (D-MA) introduced the Children’s Protection Act (H.R. 8565), which would require agencies to analyze how certain rules impact children and ensure that young people have culturally component, neighborhood-based care and resources that they need. Bill text One-pager Section-by-section

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