On April 26, 2022, Reb. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) of 2022 (H.R. 7585), which would address social determinants of health, reduce racial and ethnic health inequities, improve access for underserved communities, address maternal health, and more.
Aligning for Health appreciates Rep. Kelly’s leadership on this legislation, and was particularly excited to see the inclusion of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act within this package. The provision included within HEAA would establish an interagency council on social determinants of health and award grants to eligible entities for the development of social determinants accelerator plans.
Aligning for Health submitted comments in response to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) request for information on Strengthening Community Health Through Technology.
Digital health technologies – which the request for information defines as tools that improve health or enable better health care delivery by connecting people with other people, with data or with health information – are critical aspects of successful initiatives to address health and social needs.
As such, Aligning for Health provided feedback on questions related to the tools, training and infrastructure needs of community-based organizations to utilize digital health technologies, and to information about how digital health technologies have or could be used in community-based settings to achieve health equity.
To read our comments, click here or see below:AFH - White House OSTP RFI - 31 March 2022
Aligning for Health submitted comments to the Healthy Future Task Force, Security Subcommittee on its recent request for information on pandemic preparedness, public health, and supply chains. The goal of the Healthy Future Task Force is to build on Republican health policy goals and craft patient-focused agendas for the future.
Specifically, Aligning for Health commented on questions related to addressing social determinants of health and maternal health as part of a broader public health strategy.
Generally, our comments fall into several themes –
- Reduce silos between existing efforts funded by governments and encourage more collaboration.
- Improve the screening and collection of social needs data to improve interventions and evaluate outcomes.
- Enhance coordination between government and non-government organizations working to address social needs through shared regional networks that support coordination, information sharing and referrals.
To read our comments, click here or see below:AFH - Healthy Future Task Force Security Subcommittee RFI - 30 March 2022
On March 28, 2022, President Biden released his Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) budget request. The budget proposes $127.3 billion in discretionary and $1.7 trillion in mandatory budget authority for the Department of Health and Human Services for FY 2023.
The budget demonstrates the Administration’s commitment to areas such as health equity and maternal health, among other priority areas. According to HHS, “It also advances equity through the work of the federal government and helps ensure our programs serve people of color and other marginalized populations with the opportunities promised to all Americans.”
Aligning for Health was pleased to see the inclusion of several key provisions related to SDOH, health equity, and maternal health in this budget request, including $153 million in funding to the CDC for the Social Determinants of Health program. Through this particular request, CDC will continue to expand SDOH efforts by funding another round of Social Determinant Accelerator Plans to states, tribes, territories, and/or localities to develop or enhance existing SDOH plans and sustained funding to support SDOH implementation program, evaluation, research, and data collection efforts.
For a full summary of the SDOH-related provisions included in the request, click here or see below:AFH- FY23 Presidents Budget - Summary - 28 March 2022
Aligning for Health applauds key SDOH provisions included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022
On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (H.R. 2471). This bill consisted of all 12 fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills and supplemental funding to support Ukraine. The House passed this bill on March 9, 2022, and the Senate passed it on March 10, 2022.
Aligning for Health was pleased to see the inclusion of several key social determinants of health provisions included in this package. Along with the appropriations bill, the accompanying Joint Explanatory Statement and House Committee on Appropriations Report for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies for Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations included specific instructions with respect to the appropriated amounts.
Below, we have pulled notable provisions related to social determinants of health, health equity, and maternal health that were included as part of this package. You can also find a summary of these provisions here.AFH - FY22 Consolidated Appropriations Summary - 11 March 2022
Aligning for Health submitted comments in response to the proposal for Improving Experiences for Dually Eligible Individuals: Standardizing Housing, Food Insecurity, and Transportation Questions on Health Risk Assessments (§ 422.101) within the CMS Contract Year 2023 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs.
Aligning for Health supports CMS’ proposal to require Special Needs Plans (SNPs) to include one or more standardized questions on the topics of housing stability, food insecurity, and access to transportation as part of Health Risk Assessments. We believe that these questions will help SNPs gather the necessary information to inform the development and implementation of each enrollee’s comprehensive individualized plan of care. Further, information from social needs screenings should be used to connect enrollees to covered services or resources to help meet their needs, if consistent with the enrollee’s goals and preferences.
To read the letter, click here or see below:AFH - MA Part D Rule - Final