Social Determinants of Health: Stretching Healthcare’s Job Description

Butcher L
Source: Manag Care
Publication Year: 2018
Patient Need Addressed: Financial insecurity, Homelessness/housing, Substance Use
Intervention Type: Best practices, Partnership
Type of Literature: Grey

Providers and payers are being asked to tackle the ‘upstream’ causes of poor health. Medicaid managed care organizations are being asked to screen enrollees for social needs. Some targeted efforts have translated into cost savings and make sense in value-based arrangements. But are we asking the health sector to take on too much?

Insights Results

Overview of article

  • This perspective addresses how providers, payers, and other stakeholders can tackle social determinants of health

Key takeaways/implications

  • Areas for future research mentioned include: 1) How to prioritize SDOH for individual patients and communities and how to intervene without medicalizing SDOH; 2) What new data should be collected, for what purpose, and by whom; 3) How to build multi-sector partnerships needed to succeed; and 4) How to focus on assets – what is right with patients, families, and communities – and build on strengths
  • Points of consensus reached at convening of health system leaders around this topic include: 1) Understand patients’ social needs; navigate patients to resources they need to be healthy; 2) Have dedicated workforce thinking about social needs; collect data to learn ROI as well as what works best to address patients’ barriers to good health
  • The article suggests state and health Medicaid officials using upstream interventions (e.g., value based care models) to mitigate social problems as a way to reduce Medicaid managed care costs
  • Florida Hospital Health System Housing First Model, which places chronically homeless individuals in housing and provides extensive support services to address addiction, joblessness, and other issues that contribute to homelessness. After a $1.6 million investment from the hospital, In 1 year, the hospital avoided an estimated $2.5 million in medical care for 6 patients