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Social Determinants Updates

May 29 through June 12, 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 health disparities and social determinants, and upcoming virtual events and opportunities.

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Member News

Metro Health: (6/12) – Metro Health and Unite Us have partnered to connect health care and social care providers across Cuyahoga County in Ohio.

AHA: (6/9) – Hospitals across the country have taken steps to better identify and address health disparities during the COVID-19 public health emergency; this article by the American Hospital Association highlights several examples of innovative approaches.

Wake Up Wake County: (6/1) – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the American Heart Association issued grants to a number of local health departments and community organizations to support new community health programming.

Health IT Analytics: (6/8) – Centene and the National Quality Minority Forum launched a research partnership to evaluate the health disparities caused by COVID-19 in minority and underserved populations.

Everything Lubbock: (6/3) – The City of Lubbock Health Department has partnered with  Signify Health to launch LBK Community, a coordinated care network to address non-medical health needs in our community.

BCBS: (6/2) – Blue Cross Blue Shield issued an infographic on social determinants of health and COVID-19, using data from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute.

Register for Our Webinar: Connecting Health and Social Needs During the Pandemic

Aligning for Health is pleased to host a webinar on the intersection of health and social needs during COVID-19. During this webinar, you will hear from leading health care organizations on new challenges in providing care to vulnerable populations, innovative programs to address them, and strategies for the landscape going forward.

Date: Thursday, June 25, 2020

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET

Register Here

Social Determinants Accelerator Act

AAMC: (6/10) – In a Statement for the Record to the House Committee on Ways & Means in response to a recent hearing it held on COVID-19 health disparities, AAMC urges the passage of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act (H.R. 4004), noting that the inter-agency technical advisory panel on social determinants of health and planning grants for state, local and tribal governments for accelerator programs would help communities across the nation address the nonmedical factors that affect health and result in inequities.

American Medical Association: (6/8) – In a Statement for the Record to the House Committee on Ways and Means on addressing social determinants of health and health inequities, the AMA notes their support for the Social Determinants Accelerator Act arguing that it will help to the specific proposal they support to address health inequities highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic that must be addressed.

Rep. Bustos: (6/4) – During the House Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on June 4th, Social Determinants Accelerator Act sponsor Rep. Bustos (D-IL) questioned CDC Director Robert Redfield on racial disparities, and noted that she hopes to discuss and pass the Social Determinants Accelerator Act this session.

Rep. Walorski: (6/4) – In this video, Social Determinants Accelerator Act cosponsor Rep. Walorski (R-IN) discusses how COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on African Americans due to the social determinants of health and urged the passage of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act. 

SDoH in the News

Health Leaders Media: (6/11) – The CEO of RWJBarnabas Health shares three community-based strategies that health systems can implement during the COVID-19 pandemic to address social needs and the broader determinants of health.

Healthcare Finance News: (6/11) – Uber has partnered with American Logistics to change the way that patients receive non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT). Providers can now schedule rides for patients and get real-time GPS tracking.

American College of Cardiology: (6/11) – In its cover story, Cardiology Magazine says that it is time for action to address the social determinants of health and health disparities, outlining actionable steps forward for doctors to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minorities.

Drug Topics: (6/11) – Pharmacists can help influence outcomes associated with social determinants of health through screening and interventions that target medication adherence and reduce medical spend, according to a session from the 2020 Pharmacy Quality Alliance Annual Meeting.

Patient Engagement HIT: (6/10) – The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) sent a letter to CMS outlining how patient access to care, provider bias, and the social determinants of health affect maternal health disparities.

Patient Engagement HIT: (6/9) – A network of cold calling volunteers from Mass General Hospital calling about COIVD-19 symptoms and doing community outreach also identified patients experiencing other social needs that had been exacerbated by the virus’s spread.

Modern Healthcare: (6/9) – Ernest Grant, Ph.D, R.N, the President of the American Nurses Association, writes about the pressing need to address health disparities and social determinants of health when addressing racism.

Health Affairs: (6/9) –This blog post highlights that failing to do the work to understand and address the racial health disparities in the COVID-19 pandemic will result in broader racial gaps in COVID-19 illness hospitalizations, deaths and recovery, and ensure that these patterns will happen again in future pandemics.

SGIM: (6/9) – The Society of General Internal Medicine has issued a new call for action to address the social determinants of health, urging internists and community practitioners to expand their reach beyond the medical office and hospital bedside to identify and partner to address socialneeds.

WXYZ: (6/9) – Michigan State University and Henry Ford Health System announced a letter of intent to expand their partnership for their joint research institute that focuses on health inequalities and disparities, social determinants of health, primary care, implementation sciences, precision health and cancer.

Medical Economics: (6/9) – The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the underlying racial and ethnic disparities in health, highlighting the way that racial, social, and economic disparities impact health.

Health Leaders Media: (6/8) – The Chief Innovation Officer for the Steele Institute for Health Innovation at Geisinger, Karen Murphy, PhD, RN, discusses the plan’s innovation initiatives that include new approaches to population health and social determinants of health, as well as healthcare delivery and payment transformation.

Health Affairs: (6/8) – COVID-19 has presented the opportunity to re-imagine the health system that moves beyond delivering medical services to one that is centered on health at both the individual and population levels. The authors note that it is necessary to build a culture of health while making this change.

KXXV: (6/7) – Walmart has pledged $100 million to create a new center on racial equity to help advance economic opportunity and healthier living, including issues surrounding the social determinants of health, strengthening workforce development and related educational systems, and support criminal justice reform.

Health Affairs: (6/5) – In order to protect public health during and after the pandemic, the American health care system must create a new approach to financing community health workers given their documented positive impact on patient health outcomes, cost, and quality of health care.

NASEM: (6/5) – The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) held an event to discuss the impact of social determinants on mental health across the lifespan.

Patient Engagement HIT: (6/4) – With COVID-19 rapidly pushing services online, Allina Health rapidly revamped their largely paper-based system of screening social determinants to a virtual platform social determinants technology that allows providers to assess a digital social needs screener and provide virtual links to community-based services.

Mountain Xpress: (6/4) – North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed a new executive order to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color by establishing the Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environment and Health Equity Task Force.

Forbes: (6/4) – UnitedHealth Group has increased its investments in affordable housing to $500 million to address social determinants of health, noting that COVID-19 has highlighted the undeniable connection between housing and health.

Health Affairs: (6/3) – Alan Weil, the Editor of Health Affairs, wrote that the deaths of many black and Latinx people from COVID-19 were socially determined, highlighting the need to go further than tackling individual needs one patient at a time and address the social determinants of health.

Austin Monitor: (6/3) – In a statement to the Austin City Council, the director of the Austin Public Health Department noted the importance of addressing on COVID-19 health disparities, and recommended improved screening for underlying conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes while testing for coronavirus in poor communities of color and in individuals over 65.

Enterprise Community: (6/2) – Enterprise Community Partners launched a COVID-19 emergency response program to provide resources and support low-income renters and housing providers in partnership with the Wells Fargo Foundation, Ballmer Group, and Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

KVRR: (6/2) – The Great Plains Food Bank is helping to facilitate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box program, which supports struggling farmers who have a surplus of food and food insecure people impacted by COVID-19.

Forbes: (6/1) – As centralized providers of care in every community, health systems see firsthand the significant impact that the social determinants play in patient’s lives. To help, health systems must increasingly become active partners in strong, strategic and well-coordinated multi-sector partnerships within communities.

USA Today: (6/1) – In almost 60% of the states for which race and ethnicity data is available on the CDC website, the distribution of COVID-19 related deaths is substantially higher among African American and Latinx communities than the groups’ distribution in the population.

NPR: (5/30) – This article provides a visual overview of coronavirus racial disparities  state by state, noting the disproportionate amount of African American deaths and cases in most states.

American Medical Association: (5/29) – Targeting COVID-19 inequities requires a data-driven approach, and the Cambridge Health Alliance is partnering with the local public health departments to reach underserved populations and use preexisting links to those communities to address social determinants of health.

Health Affairs: (5/29) – Inequities have been amplified by COVID-19; this article highlights opportunities for Medicaid agencies to leverage existing and new authorities to address health disparities.

MedCityNews: (5/29) – Addressing social needs at the individual level will improve overall population health, but requires a multidisciplinary team of experts working collaboratively to treat patients holistically.

Cision: (5/28) – The National Health Foundation, in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, is now operating a temporary housing program through Project Roomkey which is a statewide initiative that provides temporary housing support to individuals experiencing homelessness to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

New Research and Reports

Health IT Analytics: (6/10) – A new study from the MIT Sloan School of Management found that COVID-19 death rates are significantly correlated with individuals’ socioeconomic status, including age, race and local climate.

Journal of Clinical Pathways: (6/3) – A research-based report series that analyzed the views of more than 160 U.S. oncologists, and found that social determinants of health are believed to play a significant in patient outcomes for cancer patients.

Healthcare Innovation: (6/1) – An Institute for Healthcare Improvement report, titled “Measuring Complexity,” recommends the development of a core set of measures for longitudinal evaluations of program effectiveness for the emerging field of complex care programs addressing social needs.

KFF: (6/1) – Kaiser Family Foundation conducted an analysis finding that Black and American Indian or Alaska Native individuals continue to fare worse compared to white individuals across most examined measures of health status, including physical and mental health status, birth risks, infant mortality rates, and prevalence of and death rates due to certain chronic conditions.

Hospital Pediatrics: (June 2020) – This study evaluated the association between caregiver-reported social needs and emergency department visits and hospitalizations by children with chronic disease, finding that over half of caregivers of children with chronic disease enrolled in a case management program reported a social need insecurity or concern. Patients with previously unaddressed food insecurity had higher ED rates, but not hospitalization rates.

Legislative Round-Up

H.R. 7158 – Rep. Brown (D-MD) and four cosponsors introduced a bill to provide for the designation of areas as Health Enterprise Zones to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes in such areas.

H.R. 7077/S. 916 – The Community Solutions for COVID-19 Act, introduced by Rep. Kelly (D-IL) and Sen. Booker (D-NJ), this bill would establish or expand programs to improve health equity regarding COVID-19 and reduce or eliminate inequities in the prevalence and health outcomes of COVID-19.

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