Social determinants of health in the news
By Austin Frakt
Social determinants of health comes up from time to time in health policy news or as the subject of reports from health policy-focused organizations. Here are quotes from four stories or reports that caught my eye recently.
1. Investing in Interventions That Address Non-Medical, Health-Related Social Needs, The National Academies Press, August 2019.
To explore the potential effect of addressing non-medical health-related social needs on improving population health and reducing health care spending in a value-driven health care delivery system, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine held a full-day public workshop titled Investing in Interventions that Address Non-Medical, Health-Related Social Needs on April 26, 2019, in Washington, D.C. The objectives of the workshop were to explore effective practices and the supporting evidence base for addressing the non-medical health-related social needs of individuals, such as housing and food insecurities; review assessments of return on investment (ROI) for payers, healthy systems, and communities; and identify gaps and opportunities for research and steps that could help to further the understanding of the ROI on addressing non-medical health-related social needs. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.
2. As Rising Heat Bakes U.S. Cities, The Poor Often Feel It Most, National Public Radio, September 3, 2019
NPR analyzed 97 of the most populous U.S. cities using the median household income from U.S. Census Bureau data and thermal satellite images from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. In more than three-quarters of those cities, we found that where it’s hotter, it also tends to be poorer. […] This means that as the planet warms, the urban poor in dozens of large U.S. cities will actually experience more heat than the wealthy, simply by virtue of where they live. And not only will more people get sick from rising temperatures in the future, we found they likely already are.
3. States focus on high-risk patients to drop Medicaid spending, Modern Healthcare, September 13, 2019
States have mixed results when coordinating patient care and addressing the social determinants of health to manage healthcare costs for high-cost Medicaid beneficiaries, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. […] The GAO found that all the states surveyed offered care management assistance to providers to better manage physical and mental health conditions for fee-for-service beneficiaries. Most of the states also contracted with managed care organizations to care for high-cost beneficiaries for a fixed payment. Many of the states used other strategies to control expenditures for high-cost beneficiaries such as case managers, mandatory care management services for particular fee-for-service beneficiaries and home health programs.
4. Why Kaiser Permanente is investing in housing, Axios, May 22, 2018
Kaiser Permanente has pledged up to $200 million over three years for programs to alleviate homelessness and expand access to affordable housing. Those funds are considered “impact investments,” meaning they’ll need to generate a return, CityLab reports — perhaps through “residential developments that mix homeless services and market-rate housing.” Kaiser Permanente will spend that money in the markets where it operates already — eight states and Washington, D.C.