The Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2020 (H.R. 6561) Background

Social and economic conditions such as those in housing, employment, food security, and education have a major influence on individual and community health.

  1. These conditions often referred to as the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) are receiving increased attention from insurance companies, hospitals, healthcare systems, and governmental
    agencies interested in improving health outcomes and controlling costs.
  2. In 2018, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar highlighted the necessity of addressing social determinants of health in HHS’s work, including at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
  3. For example, the CMS Innovation Center’s Accountable Health Communities (AHC) pilot program funds 31 health systems to identify unmet health related social needs of their patients and create referral mechanism to address them.
  4. Its goal is “testing whether systematically identifying and addressing the health related social needs of CMS beneficiaries will impact health care costs and reduce health care utilization.”

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