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Social Determinants Updates

January 10 to January 24, 2020

Welcome to this edition of Aligning for Health’s Social Determinants Updates newsletter.  

In this newsletter you'll find updates on the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, our member organizations, and other notable articles on research, data and news related to social determinants, and upcoming events and opportunities. 

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Member News

Managed Healthcare Executive: (1/11) – As healthcare executives place a greater focus on addressing social determinants, Dr. Jacob Reider of Alliance for Better Health notes that two key factors can advance these efforts: well-curated networks that connect payers, providers and health plan members with social care and the technology that facilitates those connections.

Social Determinants Accelerator Act

The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania: (1/15) – Federal attention is building to address the social determinants of health with the Social Determinants Accelerator Act (H.R. 4004). HAP wrote that this federal activity could present an opportunity to support work underway in Pennsylvania.

Health Payer Intelligence: (1/14) – AHIP recently supported the Social Determinants Accelerator Act and signed onto the letter urging a hearing in the Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss how the bill will help the healthcare industry’s fight against social determinants of health.

January 7
AFH Urges Congress to Advance the Social Determinants Accelerator Act

Aligning for Health and 63 other organizations called on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to advance the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, a bill that would provide funding and assistance for community-based health to address the social determinants of health.

Read Our Letter

New Research and Reports

CMS(1/23) –  The CMS Office of Minority Health released new data providing insight into the reporting of social determinants of health for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries using data from the ICD-10 codes 

NASEM: (1/22) – The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and medicine released a report informing the selection of leading health indicators for Healthy People 2030.

Patient Engagement HIT: (1/22) – A new CVS Health report outlines key industry priorities and the need to create patient-centric healthcare models and programs that address patient self-management, community-based care, social isolation, and affordability in health care.

BioSpace: (1/16) – Tivity Health released a report outlining critical next steps to improve the health of aging Americans, identifying 8 recommendations for tacking various social determinants of health and improving older Americans’ health in rural areas.

American Journal of Public Health: (1/16) – This report provides best practices to address social needs and social determinants of health for anchor institutions like universities, hospitals, and other large, place-based organizations.

Patient Engagement HIT: (1/16) – An expert panel from the NIH said that the medical industry needs a concerted push toward more and better research regarding the relationship between social determinants of health, health disparities, and patient access to preventative care.

Patient Engagement HIT: (1/15) – A GAO report found that the VA does not have adequate measures or data to implement health equity strategies and close racial health disparities.

Fierce Healthcare: (1/15) – Written by Karen DeSalvo and Mike Leavitt, this article calls on payers to measure the impact of social determinants interventions by building in metrics from the beginning of initiatives.

Patient Engagement HIT: (1/14) – A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR and the Harvard Chan School of Public Health found that nearly half of lower and middle-income adults struggle to pay their dental and healthcare bills.

National Academy of Medicine: (1/13) – The NAM released a report on accountable communities for health for families and children, examining approaches for catalyzing and accelerating success.

Patient Engagement HIT: (1/13) – Researchers from Emory University found that a $1 increase in the minimum wage could cut suicide rates between three and six percent, underscoring the impact social determinants of health such as income level can have on physical and mental health.

American Journal of Health Promotion: (1/13) – A report in the American Journal of Health Promotion recounts the relevant history of social determinants of health and provides a call to action based on one organization’s story and best practices for employers.

SIREN: (January) – A study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine looked at patients’ attitudes and perceptions regarding social needs screening and navigation, finding that most patients at a large integrated health system supported clinical social needs screening and intervention.

The Milbank Quarterly: (January) – A new study in the Milbank Quarterly looks at Medicaid utilization and spending among homeless adults in New Jersey, finding implications that Medicaid-Funded tenancy support services would decrease emergency department utilization and “excess” Medicaid spending.

SIREN: (January) – A study in the Journal of Primary Care Community Health suggests that screening for social needs at well-child visits is feasible as part of routine primary care, effectively translating the policy recommendation into practice with community health workers in an urban academic health center.

Source: CMS Office of Minority Health

SDoH Data Collection and Innovation

Health Data Management: (1/23) – The Gravity Project has reported making early progress in trying to standardize social determinants of health data. The next phase of the project will be to develop a FHIR implementation guide based on the defined use cases and associated data sets that will be finalized.

Health IT Analytics: (1/20) – According to a study in the American Journal of Managed Care, a machine learning algorithm accurately predicted inpatient and emergency department utilization using only publicly available social determinants of health data. The study also found that among more than 20 demographic and socioeconomic determinants of health factors, air quality was the strongest predictor of whether a person was likely to visit the ED or be hospitalized.

Spark Health MD: (1/21) – The RISE Association has announced it will work with Alexandria Schweitzer from the Harvard Kennedy School to conduct a survey for the identification of social determinants of health, with the main objective of this benchmarking survey being to provide an understanding of the factors affecting the success of the new health programs.

Healthcare IT News: (1/21) – A Regenstrief informatics expert will show at HIMSS20 how the Indiana Network for Population Health is evolving as “novel data infrastructure” to address the root conditions for better health.

SDoH in the News

Politico: (1/23) – Baltimore is fighting food deserts with the programs aimed at bringing more healthy foods to low-income neighborhoods, like the FreshCrate program, which is a food-service company that sells produce at cost to small stores.

Pharmacy Times: (1/22) – One of the 2020 trends in pharmacy is the relationship between value-based pharmacy and social determinants of health, as some retail pharmacies will grow their social determinants solutions offerings.

Becker’s Hospital Review: (1/21) – Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest region based in Portland, Oregon, is investing $5.1 million this year to providing housing for 300 homeless seniors who have chronic diseases or other complex health issues.

Annals of Internal Medicine: (1/21) – The American College of Physicians published a paper on envisioning a better U.S. health care system for all, examining reducing barriers to care and addressing social determinants of health.

Annals of Internal Medicine: (1/21) – A supplemental article to the ACP paper, “Health is More than Health Care” discusses the interplay of social determinants of health and health equity, the critical role medicine plays in social determinants of health, and the need for a multi-sector approach to addressing social determinants.

Health Leaders Media: (1/20) – The recent trend of health systems partnering with ride-share companies highlights the belief that transportation is an essential component of value-based care programs and addressing social determinants of health.

Open Minds: (1/19) – The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission is preparing to launch the Moving Massachusetts Upstream (MassUP) Investment Program to fund programs that address the social determinants of health and root causes of inequality. A total of $2 million is available to fund three to four awards up to $650,000.

Modern Healthcare: (1/18) – This editorial commented on the recent NEJM study, which found that “hotspotting” at the Camden Coalition did not reduce hospital admissions, arguing that the Camden experiment no longer reflects what is going on in the field and the health industry should look to hotspotting’s future, not its past.

Modern Healthcare: (1/18) – At St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago, there was a rising trend of behavioral health patients presenting to the ED. As a solution, St. Joseph and three other Eds at other hospitals piloted a screening process to help behavioral health patients get discharged faster from the ED.

Fierce Healthcare: (1/17) – Aetna executives make a business care for addressing social determinants of health by shifting the conversation to include where most people spends many of their waking hours, the workplace.

Health Affairs: (1/17) – While Medicaid can’t pay for housing for its enrollees, it can help meet enrollees’ social needs by building partnerships across sectors and incent payers to make investments into housing.

Associated Press: (1/17) – Blue Shield of California and Kaiser Permanente pledged $45 million to a new state fund that could be used to pay rents, subsidize affordable housing or help board and care homes.

Milken Institute: (1/16) – The Milken Institute hosted the Future of Health Summit, featuring a panel on the business case for addressing social determinants of health.

Becker’s Hospital Review: (1/15) – Illinois-based Advocate health Care has introduced effective nutrition intervention across different care settings, implementing three phases and demonstrating that nutrition care is scalable beyond the hospital.

Patient Engagement HIT: (1/15) – Sutter Health and Lyft created a partnership to both drive patient access to care and help providers get to their different job sites.

Fierce Healthcare: (1/15) – ONC released a 5-year federal health IT road map, including a push for social determinants of health data to be captured and integrated into EHRs to assist in care processes as one strategy to address social determinants.

Health Affairs: (1/14) – The Medical Transportation Access Coalition (MTAC) partnered with the Community Transportation Association of America to document the interconnectedness of Medicaid NEMT and community transportation. The article highlights that cutting Medicaid NEMT will harm community-level public transportation since the two are often commingled to create efficiencies.

Health Payer Intelligence: (1/13) --- Blue Cross Blue Shied Rhode Island created the Rhode Island Life Index to fully understand the impacts of social determinants of health and identify the highest areas of need in the state.

Modern Healthcare: (1/11) – While social workers have an essential role in addressing the social determinants of health, hospitals and insurers are having trouble agreeing on how to pay for the work they do.

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