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HealthChoices MCO Seeks to Address Social Determinants of Health

A managed care plan that participates in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program is slowly dipping its toe into an effort to address the social determinants of health in Philadelphia. United Healthcare, with 57,000 Medicaid members in the city, has placed six homeless members with multiple health problems into apartments in the city – it plans to add four more – and is spending between $1200 and $1800 a month on rent and wrapround services.  Its theory:  with one percent of the population accounting for 22 percent of annual health care spending nation-wide, helping some of that one percent could improve lives while saving a great deal of money. Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services has awarded nearly $9 million in grants since 2016 … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania Medicaid, social determinants of health

New Bill Would Address Social Determinants of Health

The federal government would provide funding to help address social determinants of health within Medicaid populations under a new bill introduced in the House of Representatives last week. According to a legislative summary prepared by one of the bipartisan bill’s sponsors, Economic and social conditions have a powerful impact on our health and wellness. Stable housing, reliable transportation and access to healthy foods are all factors that can make a difference in the prevention and management of many health conditions like diabetes, asthma and heart disease. Known as social determinants of health, a focus on these non-medical factors can improve health outcomes and wellbeing. States are increasingly looking to deploy social determinants of health interventions to manage costs and improve … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, social determinants of health

The Role of Medicaid in Addressing Social Determinants of Health

Medicaid can play a major role in addressing the social determinants of health. Or so argues a recent post on the Health Affairs Blog. According to the post, social determinants of health – income, education, decent housing, access to food, and more – significantly influence the health and well-being of individuals – including low-income individuals who have adequate access to quality health care.  Medicaid, the post maintains, can play a major role in addressing social determinants of health. The post outlines the role state Medicaid programs can play in addressing social determinants of health; describes tools for such action such as section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waivers; offers examples of efforts currently under way in some states; and presents suggestions for … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals, social determinants of health

Tackling Social Determinants of Health

Two states are working to address social determinants of health through their Medicaid programs. In California and Oregon, the state Medicaid programs are using care coordination and funding from multiple sources, including traditional Medicaid funding, alternative payment approaches, and savings from care coordination to provide services such as housing, food, and legal assistance while also building the capacity of health care and community groups to support such efforts.  Both states obtained federal Medicaid waivers to enable them to expend Medicaid resources on non-Medicaid-covered services. Learn more about how California and Oregon are using their Medicaid programs to address social determinants of health in the Health Affairs report “Medicaid Investments To Address Social Needs In Oregon And California.”

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, social determinants of health

Medicare Advantage Permitted to Address Non-medical Needs

Starting in 2020, Medicare Advantage plans will be permitted to provide non-medical benefits to their chronically ill members. As described in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ “final call letter’ for 2020, MA [Medicare Advantage] plans are not prohibited from offering an item or service that can be expected to improve or maintain the health or overall function of an enrollee only while the enrollee is using it.  In other words, the statute does not require that the maintenance or improvement expected from an SSBCI [special supplemental benefits for the chronically ill] result in a permanent change in an enrollee’s condition.  Items and services may include, but are not limited to:  meals furnished to the enrollee beyond a limited … Read More

Posted in Medicare, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals, social determinants of health

Groups Work to Create New Codes for Social Determinants

Social determinants of health could have their own ICD-10 codes if a new initiative from the American Medical Association and United Healthcare succeeds. The two are working together to develop new ICD-10 codes that would take into consideration social determinants of health such as housing and food security, access to transportation, and ability to pay for medicine. The project launches at a time when research suggests that social determinants of health can affect nearly 80 percent of health care outcomes. Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals struggle more than other hospitals, and must work harder to address, the social determinants of health that play such a major role in the health and well-being of the residents of the low-income communities they serve. Learn … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals, social determinants of health

New Report Looks at Medicaid and Social Determinants of Health

A new report outlines how state Medicaid programs can improve the health of Medicaid beneficiaries through a more concerted approach to addressing social determinants of health. The report, from the Institute for Medicaid Innovation, focuses on how state Medicaid programs, through alternative payment models and especially through managed care organizations, have implemented new programs designed to address social determinants of health such as inadequate social supports and housing, food insecurity, lack of transportation, and others.  It also highlights federal regulations that facilitate the implementation of new ways to address social determinants of health and presents brief case studies in which states, state Medicaid programs, and Medicaid managed care organizations tackle social determinants of health. Such approaches are especially relevant to … Read More

Posted in social determinants of health

Medicare Advantage to Address Social Determinants of Health

Beginning next year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will authorize Medicare Advantage plans to pay for some health-related but non-medical benefits for their members – benefits that will help address social determinants of health that affect the health status of many Medicare beneficiaries. As explained by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a recent event in Salt Lake City, These interventions can keep seniors out of the hospital, which we are increasingly realizing is not just a cost saver but actually an important way to protect their health, too.  If seniors do end up going to the hospital, making sure they can get out as soon as possible with the appropriate rehab services is crucial to … Read More

Posted in Medicare, social determinants of health, Uncategorized
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