WASHINGTON, DC (April 14, 2021) – Aligning for Health, a coalition of leading health insurers, providers, and vendors, is proud to support the re-introduction of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2021 a bipartisan piece of legislation introduced by Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Tom Cole (R-OK), Jim McGovern (D-MA), and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK).
The Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2021 will help states and communities devise strategies to leverage existing programs and authorities to address all aspects of health, including food, housing, transportation, and workforce.
Economic and social conditions have a powerful impact on our health and wellness. Known as social determinants of health, a focus on these non-medical factors can improve health outcomes and wellbeing and address disparities. States, local, and Tribal governments are increasingly looking to develop and expand high-impact initiatives that encourage and incentivize collaboration between Medicaid programs and social services programs. However, state, local, and Tribal governments often face challenges in successfully implementing these initiatives due to difficulties in navigating fragmented and complex programs.
The Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2021 will provide planning grants and technical assistance to state, local, and Tribal governments who want to devise innovative, evidence-based approaches to coordinate programs and services to improve health and wellbeing for Medicaid beneficiaries.
The bipartisan legislation was previously introduced in the House in July 2019, and in the Senate in December 2019.
“Aligning for Health is proud to support the reintroduction of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act,” said Melissa Quick, co-chair of Aligning for Health, “The legislation will catalyze cross-sector collaboration and will give state and local officials the resources they need to get beyond the siloes and develop innovative solutions to complex problems.”
“CSH strongly supports the Social Determinants Accelerator Act,” said Deborah De Santis, President and CEO of Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), “The Supportive Housing Industry for decades has seen the impact on the health of our residents and potential residents, due to the lack of access to the SDOH including housing, food, and safe, thriving communities. We have also seen the impact of systemic and institutional racism, that has made access to SDOH less likely for communities of color. We are hopeful that as communities have more accurate information and the ability to work more effectively across sectors, as supported by the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, the opportunities for those needs to be addressed will improve.”
“Our surroundings – including where we are born, live, work and age – all have an impact on our health. This is why we need better coordination of care with programs that seek to address health and social needs,” said Justine Handelman, senior vice president of the Office of Policy and Representation for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. “We strongly support the Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2021, which will help communities work together to break down barriers, improve overall health and advance health equity.”
“As a health insurer committed to address health disparities, UPMC Health Plan strongly supports this common-sense, bipartisan bill which enhances the ability of the health care payers and providers to mitigate the causes of inequities with state collaborations,” said John Lovelace, President, Government Programs, UPMC Health Plan. “In addition to providing new tools to states looking at these issues, the Social Determinants Accelerator Act provides more resources to enhance existing state and community-based partnerships to address health inequities.”
“LISC invests in quality affordable housing, safety, good education, job opportunities and financial stability because they all factor into the health and well-being of a community. We enthusiastically support the Social Determinants of Health Accelerator Act because it will help states devise approaches that leverage the expertise of partners from multiple sectors – including community based organizations – who are committed to advancing health equity and closing interconnected racial health and wealth gaps,” said Julia Ryan, Vice President of Health Initiatives, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
“This Act is an impressive first step toward the prioritization of social needs as an essential component of preserving health and preventing (rather than treating) the consequences of unmet social needs such as food, housing, and transportation,” said Jacob Reider, Chief Executive Officer of Alliance for Better Health, “This work transcends benevolence: it’s a good business decision for the Nation to prevent the suffering (and spending) that occurs when individuals’ social needs are neglected.”
“The America Forward Coalition includes 100+ social innovation organizations working every day, across the country to measurably improve lives. Through their work, we’ve seen that siloed systems of health and social service programs too often hinder effective partnerships with government, which could build evidence and scale effective approaches in early childhood, education, workforce development, and supportive housing services that make families and communities healthier. This much needed, bipartisan legislation will help unlock critical resources to fund prevention, encourage state and local innovation, build cross-sectoral partnerships, and make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Roger Low, Policy Director at America Forward and Aligning for Health Advisory Board Member.
About Aligning for Health – Aligning for Health members include: Alliance for Better Health, American Hospital Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, CareSource, Centene, HCSC, Signify Health, UPMC Health Plan, and Unite Us.
Additional information about Aligning for Health may be found at www.AligningforHealth.org.