View in browser
Social Determinants Updates

August 21 to September 4, 2020

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

In this newsletter you will find updates on how the health care system is helping to meet health and social needs during the current public health emergency, as well as other notable links to research, data, and news related to social determinants, and upcoming virtual events and opportunities.

Follow us on twitter for more social determinants news:

Do you have an event or opportunity coming up that you'd like to highlight?  Email to be included in the next newsletter. 

Was this email forwarded to you? Click this link to subscribe:

Member News

Elemental: (9/2) – ICD-10 codes can allow physicians to document the social factors in their patients' lives that contribute to their health. Alliance for Better Health’s uses Z-codes to document their patient’s needs and streamline the process to connect them with local nonprofits that address social needs.

Centene Center for Health Transformation: (8/31) – Centene Center for Health Transformation compiled studies that focus on exploring and addressing how various social and economic factors such as the lack of housing, food, and safety affect the health outcomes and wellbeing of individuals.

Crain’s Cleveland Business: (8/30) – MetroHealth and Unite Us have partnered to help organizations collaborate to address social needs.

Unite Us: (8/25) – Unite Us has analyzed how their networks are responding to the eviction crisis, and how national network services are responding to eviction assistance requests. The data found that referrals for housing and shelter show the highest number of COVID mentions at intake across their network, revealing the connection between the pandemic and the financial crisis that many are experiencing. Additionally, housing, shelter, and utilities remain Unite Us’s highest requested service types across the country.

Community Rebuilders: (8/25) – This article highlights Signify Health’s partnership with Community Rebuilders to create the Gather Resources and Align Community Efforts (GRACE Network), which includes 16 organizations that joined with the goal of ending family homelessness and breaking data silos to better track health and housing outcomes on a long-term basis.

American Hospital Association: (8/24) – An updated American Hospital Association resource examines the impact of the social determinants of health on patients and communities during the COVID-19 public health emergency, highlighting efforts to address social needs and health inequity.

Omaha World-Herald: (8/23) – The Nebraska Health Information Initiative is partnering with Unite Us to create Unite Nebraska, which is intended to break down barriers between medical and social care providers so they can better address nonmedical issues that affect physical well-being.

Social Determinants Accelerator Act

Social Work Today: (September 2020) – As health care moves towards value-based care, social determinants of health must be moved to the forefront to be addressed more efficiently and effectively in health care settings, with this article highlighting the Social Determinants Accelerator Act as a key movement towards health care reform.

Webinar Recording: Addressing Health and Social Needs Through Value-Based Care Webinar

On August 26, Aligning for Health hosted a webinar on the intersection of health and social needs through value-based care. During this webinar, individuals from leading health care organizations shared how they are designing and leveraging value-based care arrangements to better address health and social needs among beneficiaries.

The Webinar featured AFH members:

  • Laura Sankey, Vice President, Product Strategy & Social Determinants of Health, Centene Corporation
  • Ray Prushnok, Executive Director, UPMC Center for Social Impact, Associate Vice President for Government Programs UPMC Health Plan
  • Jamo Rubin, Strategic Advisor, Signify Health
Link to Webinar Recording

SDoH in the News

Health Affairs: (9/3) – As value-based care adoption continues to grow, this article notes that centering value-based payment models and quality measures around health equity is one way in which payers and providers can take action and dismantle institutional racism.

Patient Engagement HIT: (9/3) – Health disparities have emerged in telehealth use and access to virtual care during the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical Economics: (9/1) – This article focuses on the growing recognition in health care that many chronic conditions can be improved by addressing the social determinants of health first, including the way that physicians screen patients, partner with community resources, and empower patients through knowledge to best improve outcomes.

Healio: (9/1) – Stand Up to Cancer has received a grant for research and education efforts to achieve health equity for underserved patients with lung cancer over three years, with a particular focus on black populations and people living in rural communities.

Patient Engagement HIT: (8/31) – As healthcare begins to better understand and address the role of health disparities, there is a need to prioritize cultural competence in medical care going forward.

Modern Healthcare: (8/31) – Sinai Health and DePaul University have signed a memorandum of understanding to create a new institute to conduct research projects and share educational opportunities focused on identifying evidence-based solutions to Chicago’s social and health inequities.

Healthcare Finance News: (8/30) – Despite the increased adoption of technology during COVID-19, the digital divide must be addressed, and more investment is needed to address the underlying social determinants of health.

STAT News: (8/27) – Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts cities and towns, recent immigration was the biggest predictor of infection, followed by living in a household with a large number of people and working in the food service industry, explaining the high COVID care rates among Latino communities.

Health Payer Intelligence: (8/27) – As children go back to school either virtually or in-person, this article highlights four population health strategies payers should use to incorporate strong population health strategies.

U.S. News: (8/25) – Researchers are exploring how COVID-19 affects heart health in black women, noting that many experience significant economic and health disparities but are often overlooked in research.

Health Affairs: (8/25) – The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Health Sciences Colleges have launched an Anti-Racism Action Plan to actively work against racism by evaluating curricula, practices, training models, behaviors, and actions through a lens of anti-racism, calling for other academic medical centers and health care institutions to follow suit.

Modern Healthcare: (8/25) – The 2020 Census holds the fate of trillions in health-related spending for the next decade, but is facing unique challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and political pressure. An inaccurate Census count is likely to result in increased challenges for disadvantaged populations, which that have experienced higher rates of COVID-19 and are more likely to rely on publicly funded social programs.

Health IT Analytics: (8/25) – Community Care Cooperative has a unique ACO and FQHC model that enables population health management to address the social determinants of health and overcome the social needs of their patients.

ABC 11: (8/25) – UnitedHealthcare’s Empowering Healthy program recently awarded $1 million in grants to six North Carolina-based health care programs to redefine access and address social needs..

Healthcare Finance News: (8/24) – New analysis of hospitalization rates shows that Black, Hispanic, Native American and Alaskan Native populations are significantly more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than white populations across the 12 states studied.

Hospitals in Focus: (8/24) –The Federation of American Hospitals has launched a new podcast series that explores the connection between hospitals and social determinants of health.

Health Payer Intelligence: (8/21) –Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City redesigned its social needs referral network to meet regional social determinants of health demands during COVID-19, and argues that it is time for payers to improve their partnerships with community-based organizations and work alongside them to strengthen referral networks.

New Research and Reports

Milbank Memorial Fund: (9/1) – The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics studied data gaps identified by stakeholders engaged in community health assessment and improvement work, and recommends that a measurement framework for improving the nation’s health: (1) be flexible enough to meet distinct local needs with a focus on subcounty and community-level data and multisector measures and (2) provide a parsimonious set of multisector core measures to guide federal and state policy and resource allocation.

Health Affairs: (9/1) – New data published in Health Affairs found that race, ethnicity, foreign-born or non-citizen status, household size, and job type contributed to the COVID-19 racial health disparities seen in the state of Massachusetts.

Wellbeing Index: (8/31) – Sharecare and the Boston University School of Public Health released the next-generation Community Well-Being Index state rankings report, evolving 10 years of well-being measurement via the integration of key social needs data.

National Center for Complex Health & Social Needs: (8/27) – The National Center commissioned the Institute of Healthcare Improvement to conduct a landscape analysis and a scan of existing quality measurement efforts pertaining to complex care. The report documents the current state of quality measures in complex care, identifies key challenges associated with complex care, and contains eight recommendations for next steps the field can take to develop a standard set of quality measures.

All In Data: (September 2020) – The All in Data for Community Health Network recently published a report that functions as a time capsule documenting the last 29 weeks of COVID-19 in the US and a tactical manual with tips and tools for public health and data-sharing during the pandemic.

CHCS: (August 2020) – As states increasingly recognize the value of community health workers, CHCS led a comprehensive scan of training and certification approaches undertaken by states across the country to increase community health workers and promotores engagement and support.

NIHMD: (August 2020) -- After collecting records for all hospital births in New York City between 2010 and 2014, researchers found that Black and Latina women were more likely than white women to experience severe maternal morbidity in the same hospital, regardless of the kind of insurance they had.

 Data Collection and Innovation

Health Payer Intelligence: (9/2) – Blue Shield of California has partnered with a third-party vendor to make the Neighborhood Health Dashboard social determinants of health data accessible to everyone to gain a deeper understanding of the unmet social needs in their community.

EHR Intelligence: (8/28) – The St. Louis Regional Data Alliance has launched the St. Louis Regional Data Exchange, an online portal that bonds more than 400 regional public data sets incorporating local COVID-19 and demographic data. The data would allow researchers and government leaders to access increased information about local COVID-19 data, social determinants of health and racial equity.

Legislative Roundup

Ways and Means Committee: (9/3) – Ways and Means Committee Chair Neal (D-MA) sent letters to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Heart Association, American Medical Association, the America Society of Nephrology and the American Thoracic Society urging them to partner with the Ways and Means Committee to address longstanding racial inequities in our society.

Strengthening Mental Health Supports for BIPOC Communities Act: (9/1) – Introduced by Reps. Cardenas (D-CA) and Johnson (D-TX), the bill would reduce health inequities experienced by individuals who are members of historically racial and ethnic minority groups under State plans under the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Program.

Upcoming Events




    SDoH Opportunities





      Rolling Basis

      Aligning for Health

      1100 H St NW, 740, District of Columbia
      Washington 20008 United States


      You received this email because you signed up on our website or made a purchase from us.