National Quality Forum
Social determinants of health (SDOH) are among the most influential factors that determine the health outcomes of individuals.1 Growing recognition of the role of the healthcare system in addressing SDOH to improve population health has led to several initiatives. For example, providers are increasingly incentivized to address determinants of health through participation in pay-for-performance programs and alternative payment models, and policy changes like the community benefit requirements for nonprofit hospitals have occurred through the Affordable Care Act. Yet, the healthcare system does not routinely collect SDOH data or coordinate care to address social needs. Increasingly, Medicaid programs are working to connect health and nonhealth services that can address SDOH to support the provision of more effective and holistic healthcare. Many Medicaid programs have begun to address SDOH through waivers, demonstration projects, and service delivery reforms. However, there is no framework for Medicaid programs seeking to make strategic investments in the collection and use of SDOH data.
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