Aligning for Health joined payers, providers, community-based organizations, and organizations representing cities, counties, and other local entities in a letter today thanking House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair Pallone and Ranking Member McMorris Rodgers for their continued leadership on addressing social determinants of health and health equity.
The letter further encourages the Committee leaders to continue to advance and pass into law important social determinants of health legislation that will empower organizations and communities across the country to work across sectors to foster partnerships, coordinate care and services, share data, and leverage available resources to drive improved and equitable outcomes and that would catalyze federal cross-sector opportunities to address social determinants.
SDOH Sign-On Letter to EC May 2022 - with signers
Multi-sector coordination of public health, health care, housing, transportation, and other social services is vital to addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) and improving health outcomes. To help catalyze such coordination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) inviting states, local governments, Tribal governments, and territories to apply for funding to develop multi-sector Accelerator Plans that lead to improved chronic disease outcomes among persons experiencing health disparities and inequities.
“Closing the Gap with Social Determinants of Health Accelerator Plans” is a first-of-its-kind opportunity from the federal government, and will set a foundation for cross-sector, evidence-based social determinants activities across the country.
Who is eligible?
The NOFO provides an opportunity for states, localities, territories, and tribes to apply for up to $125,000 in grant funding to develop Social Determinants of Health Accelerator Plans. Eligible applicants include: state governments (or their bona fide agents); local governments (or their bona fide agents); territorial governments or their bona fide agents; county, city or township governments; special district governments; Native American tribal governments that are federally recognized; and Native American tribal organizations. At least one territory and one tribe will be funded. To ensure geographic diversity, no more than three state and local applicants per HHS region will receive awards.
Although eligibility is limited to states, localities, territories, and tribes, applicants are encouraged to engage government agencies, private businesses, non-profit and community organizations, and health care entities as planning partners in developing their Accelerator Plans.
What are the grants for?
CDC will grant up to 20 awards, which may be used to organize a Leadership Team consisting of multisectoral partners to develop an implementation-ready SDOH Accelerator Plan. The purpose of these plans is to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities related to chronic disease in a tribal jurisdiction, community, or catchment area.
In identifying this Leadership Team to engage in building these plans, the CDC says grantees should “employ a community-based participatory approach that includes shared decision making and builds upon the collective assets of the community.” The Leadership Team should be composed of at least two community members who have an understanding of the populations that will be served by the grantee, and at least five leaders from different sectors that can help with the development of the SDOH Accelerator Plans to address the SDOH priority areas included in the plan. The NOFO provides examples of potential leadership members.
Applicants will need to identify a community and population of focus, and identify a corresponding population disproportionately impacted by disparities related to chronic disease. SDOH Accelerator Grant recipients will use the funding to develop the implementation-ready SDOH Accelerator plan in collaboration with their Leadership Teams, and must submit the plan to CDC.
What could this look like in practice?
Many communities have pulled together cross-sector collaborations to address the health and social needs of the communities they serve. Two examples include:
- Live Well San Diego – Through collective impact and support of the County of San Diego, this program aligns efforts across sectors – including health care, social services, education, and others – to improve the lives and health of San Diego County residents. Over 500 organizations throughout the region have committed to partnering to improve health and well-being. Organizational leaders and community members gather regionally to identify priority needs, plan community improvements, and conduct activities to improve the health and well-being of their communities.
- Cross-sector Innovation Initiative (CSII) – The Center for Sharing Public Health Services (CSPHS) and Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI), with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), co-lead this three-year initiative to identify and support public health, health care, and social services organizations working to build cross-sector connections to meet the needs of the populations they serve. The goal of CSII is to support, promote, and disseminate learning about the role of governmental public health departments in aligning efforts across sectors to improve population health and emphasize the value of cross-sector collaborations to improve health equity. Thus far, 10 grantees in communities across six states have participated in this initiative.
How to Apply
Interested applicants must submit a project narrative that is limited to six pages along with their application for this NOFO. Applications are due by July 6, and the anticipated award date is September 30. For questions, please reach out to SDOH2111@cdc.gov by June 23 at 5pm ET.
AFH Comments on CMS Request for Information regarding Accelerating the Adoption of Standards Related to Social Risk Data
Aligning for Health was pleased to provide comment on the Request for Information regarding Accelerating the Adoption of Standards Related to Social Risk Data within the recently proposed rule to reduce provider and patient burden by improving prior authorization processes and promoting patients’ electronic access to health information.
Documenting social risk and social needs data in health records and promoting greater exchange of such data will ensure payers and providers delivering care to an individual have a more comprehensive view of the factors affecting the individuals’ health. Moreover, social risk and social needs data can be leveraged to provide insights on best practices and drivers of health disparities, and for risk adjusting payment or quality measurement. This documentation is the foundational first step toward care models that drive better alignment between health and social needs to improve patient outcomes. We believe that the outcome-focused care delivery systems of the future must rest on a data foundation that provides health organizations with meaningful information about both health and social risks.
Therefore, we agree that it is important to encourage and incentivize greater identification, documentation, and exchange of social risk and social needs data by removing barriers and by providing education and incentives for providers and payers.
Read the full comment letter here.
Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and Aligning for Health co-hosted a virtual congressional briefing on December 15, 2020. The virtual briefing featured current Congressional staffers who highlighted opportunities in the 117th Congress to support effective and innovative approaches to Social Determinants of Health (SDOHs).
SDOHs are the social and economic conditions – such as those in transportation, housing, employment, food security, and education – that influence individual and community health. SDOHs are receiving increased attention from insurance companies, hospitals, healthcare systems, and governmental agencies interested in health outcomes and controlling costs. Now more than ever, centering cross-sector, public health strategies and funding can build strong foundations for effective, long-term solutions to improve health and potentially drive down health care costs. Some recent legislation that addresses some of these issues include the Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2019 (H.R. 4004/ S. 2986) and the Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2020 (H.R. 6561/S. 4440)
- Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2020 Fact Sheet
- Improving Social Determinants of Health Act Bill Text: H.R. 6561, S. 4440
- Social Determinants Accelerator Act Summaries: H.R 4004, S. 2986
- Social Determinants Accelerator Act Bill Text: H.R. 4004, S. 2986
- Daphne Delgado, Senior Government Relations Manager, Trust for America’s Health
- Melissa Quick, Co-Chair, Aligning for Health
- Kristin Flukey, Legislative Assistant, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05)
- Shane Hand, Legislative Assistant, Rep. Tom Cole, (R-OK-04)
- Joshua Izaak, Legislative Director, Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA-44)
- Kripa Sreepada, Health Policy Advisor, Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN)
- Liam Steadman, Senior Policy Advisor, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17)
For more information on the Improving Social Determinants of Health Act, contact Daphne Delgado, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, contact Melissa Quick MQuick@AligningForHealth.org.