With increased Congressional focus on health disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to pass legislation that would address the social determinants of health, which are often closely tied to health disparities. Recently, Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL), lead sponsor of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act (H.R. 4004), sent out a Dear Colleague letter to co-sign the bill, which is featured below.
Please flag the Social Determinants Accelerator Act and this cosponsorship opportunity for Members of Congress or their staff that you speak with. If useful, here is a short letter template.
Dear Colleague Letter
The Dear Colleague letter is below:
Cosponsors: Cole, McGovern, McMorris Rodgers, Rush, Barragan, Engel, Butterfield, Cardenas, Morelle, Fitzpatrick, Schrader, Soto, Doyle, Blunt Rochester, Kuster, Rutherford, Walorski, Gonzalez, Moolenaar, Cicilline, McAdams, Kelly, Trone, Underwood
Endorsements: Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, Acelero Learning, Aligning for Health, Alliance for Better Health, America Forward, America’s Essential Hospitals, America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Association of Service Coordinators, American Hospital Association, America’s Promise Alliance, American Medical Association, AMGA, Amida Care, Anthem, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Association of American Medical Colleges, Aurora Institute, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, CareSource, Centene, Children’s Hospital Association, Citizen Schools, City Year Inc, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Council on Social Work Education, Early Learning Alliance, Enterprise Community Partners, Forum for Youth Investment, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, GreenLight Fund, Healthcare Leadership Council, Humana, iMentor, Institute for Child Success, KidSucceed LLC, Let’s Grow Kids, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, LIFT, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Lutheran Services in America, Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc., Maycomb Capital Community Outcomes Fund, Medical Group Management Association, Molina, National Association of Accountable Care Organizations, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, National Association of Counties, National Association of Social Workers, National Coalition on Health Care, National League of Cities, New Profit, New Teacher Center, Nonprofit Finance Fund, Nurse-Family Partnership, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Pacific Business Group on Health, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, Penn Center for Community
I write to ask you to cosponsor the bipartisan Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2019. Please click here for a one pager and click here for a section-by-section.
As COVID-19 continues to highlight health disparities across the county, we must do more to address social determinants of health. Economic and social conditions— like stable housing, reliable transportation and access to healthy foods— 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. While there are existing federal and state programs to address social determinants, complex bureaucratic rules make it hard for states, localities and Tribes to coordinate and leverage these resources.
The Social Determinants Accelerator Program
This important legislation will help states and localities devise strategies to leverage existing programs and authorities to address all aspects of health, including food, housing, transportation and workforce. The legislation will provide planning grants and technical assistance to state, local and Tribal governments to help them improve effectiveness and return on investment.
Specifically, under the Social Determinants Accelerator Act:
- The Secretary of HHS would convene an inter-agency technical advisory council on social determinants of health. The council would include program experts from the federal government, state and local government officials, the private sector and community-based organizations.
- CMS, in consultation with the Council, would make available up to $25 million in grants to state, local and Tribal governments to develop Social Determinants Accelerator Plans. Plans would target a group of high-need Medicaid patients, identify the outcomes to be achieved through cross-sector coordination as well as interventions and include a plan for linking data across programs.
- The Council would provide technical assistance to grantees to help them implement their plans by identifying federal resources, authorities and strategies for braiding and blending funds and designing rigorous evaluations to address social determinants.
Member of Congress