President’s Budget for FY2023 Includes Key Provisions Related to SDOH

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
2022-03-29T20:31:13+00:00March 29th, 2022|Press Release|

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
2022-03-18T15:05:17+00:00March 18th, 2022|Press Release|

Aligning for Health submits comments on CMS MA and Part D proposed rule

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
2022-03-07T16:37:48+00:00March 7th, 2022|Press Release|

Aligning for Health submits comments on CMS Advance Notice for CY2023

Aligning for Health submitted comments in response to the CMS Advance Notice of Methodological Changes for CY2023 for Medicare Advantage Capitation Rates and Part C and Part D Payment Policies.

Aligning for Health was pleased to see CMS propose the following potential new measure concepts and methodological enhancements for future years in the Advance Notice and provided recommendations for CMS to consider in developing these concepts:

  • Measure of Contracts’ Assessment of Beneficiary Needs (Part C), which would be developed by CMS and would assess whether a contract’s enrollees have had their health-related social needs assessed, using a standardized screening tool; and
  • Screening and Referral to Services for Social Needs (Part C), which is being developed by NCQA and would assess screening for unmet needs and referral to intervention for those who screened positive.

To read the letter, click here or see below:

AFH - CY23 Advance Notice Letter - Final
2022-03-07T16:40:02+00:00March 7th, 2022|Press Release|

Aligning for Health submits comments to Senate HELP Committee leaders in response to PREVENT Pandemics Act request for comments

On Friday, February 4, Aligning for Health sent a letter to Senate HELP Committee leadership in response to request for comments on the discussion draft of the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act).

Aligning for Health strongly supports the Committee’s inclusion of Section 201, Addressing Social Determinants of Health and Improving Health Outcomes, in the discussion draft. In its comments, Aligning for Health encouraged the Committee to consider including bipartisan legislation that would further promote interoperable network development and data sharing; development of evidence-based approaches to coordinate services and improve outcomes; and strengthen capacity to identify and address disparities across sectors.

To read the letter, click here.

2022-02-07T15:18:32+00:00February 7th, 2022|Press, Press Release|

More than 50 organizations send letter to Senate HELP Committee requesting the inclusion of the LINC to Address Social Needs Act in the PREVENT Pandemics Act legislative package

Today, 54 organizations sent a letter to Senate HELP Committee Chair Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Burr (R-NC) in response to the request for comments on the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act). This bipartisan legislation is focused on strengthening the nation’s public health and medical preparedness and response systems in the wake of COVID-19.

Section 201 of the PREVENT Pandemics Act discussion draft focused on addressing social determinants of health and improving health outcomes. To strengthen this section of the bill, this stakeholder letter asked the committee to consider including the bipartisan LINC to Address Social Needs Act (S. 509/H.R. 6072) in the final legislative text of the PREVENT Pandemics Act.

While Section 201 of the draft includes elements of the LINC to Address Social Needs Act, including the entirety of this legislation would provide increased and dedicated funding to support cross-sector, interoperable efforts to coordinate and address health-related social needs for those most vulnerable to the impacts of the current and future pandemics.

The letter can be found here and below:

AFH Stakeholder Letter - PREVENT Pandemics Act - 4 Feb 2022
2022-02-04T21:37:23+00:00February 4th, 2022|Press, Press Release|

Bipartisan Representatives Introduce the Bicameral LINC to Address Social Needs Act

November 24, 2021

Aligning for Health is proud to support the introduction of the Leveraging Integrated Networks in Communities (LINC) to Address Social Needs Act (H.R. 6072) by Representatives Dan Kildee (D-MI), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), and Richard Hudson (R-NC). Similar bipartisan, bicameral legislation was previously introduced by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Chris Murphy (D-CT).

The LINC to Address Social Needs Act will help to build or enhance statewide or regional collaborations to better coordinate health care and social services by leveraging local expertise and technology to help connect people to food, housing, child development, job training, and transportation supports and services.

These and other social challenges have been proven to have clear implications on wellbeing and on population health. However, today’s health and social services systems and services are largely siloed. Investments to better align and coordinate between health care and social service entities and providers will yield better, more holistic health outcomes, reduce preventable health costs, and keep the most vulnerable populations from falling through the cracks.

The LINC to Address Social Needs Act will provide one-time seed funding for states, through public private partnerships, to facilitate cross-sector communication, service coordination and consumer assistance, referral and capacity management, and outcome tracking between social service and health care entities. States may use funding to establish or expand existing secure, interoperable technology networks, provide technical assistance and support to entities in connecting to the network, and to ensure sustainability.

This bill will create a new and unprecedented ability to share data and measure the impact of social interventions on health, health care spending, and community wellbeing. It will also allow health and social service organizations to better coordinate care and ensure maximum impact for available resources.

“As an organization dedicated to catalyzing the change that will break down the barriers between health and social service organizations, we applaud Representatives Kildee, Walorski, Blunt Rochester, and Hudson for their leadership in introducing the LINC to Address Social Needs Act,” said Melissa Quick, co-chair of Aligning for Health. “The bipartisan, bicameral bill will help to build and expand shared community resource and referral networks, helping to improve coordination between the health care and social service sectors. Aligning for Health looks forward to the passage of this exciting legislation.”

2021-11-24T15:10:25+00:00November 24th, 2021|Press Release|

Bipartisan Members of Congress Reintroduce Social Determinants Accelerator Act in the Senate

WASHINGTON, DC (October 21, 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 in the Senate, a bipartisan piece of legislation introduced by Sens. Stabenow (D-MI) and Young (R-IN). Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Tom Cole (R-OK), Jim McGovern (D-MA), and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) introduced the House companion of the bill earlier this year (H.R. 2503).

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 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 underserved populations, particularly those with unmet health and social needs.

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.”

About Aligning for Health – Aligning for Health members include: Alliance for Better Health, American Hospital Association, Aunt Bertha, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, CareSource, Signify Health, UPMC Health Plan, Unite Us, Vizient, Inc., and 3M Health Information Systems.

Additional information about Aligning for Health may be found at www.AligningforHealth.org

More on SDAA
Endorse SDAA

Supporting Organizations

The Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2021 has been endorsed by several organizations, including: Aligning for Health, Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, Acelero Learning, achi, Activate Care, Adagio Health, Alameda County Public Health Department, Alliance for Better Health, America Forward, American Association of Service Coordinators, American Association on Health and Disability, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, America’s Essential Hospitals, America’s Health Insurance Plans, America’s Promise Alliance, AMGA, Amida Care, Anthem, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Association of American Medical Colleges, Aunt Bertha, Aurora Institute, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Bree Collaborative, CareSource, Centene, Change Healthcare, Children’s Hospital Association, Citizen Schools, City Year Inc., College of American Pathologists, Community ConneXor, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Council on Social Work Education, CyncHealth, Early Learning Alliance, eHealth Initiative, Enterprise Community Partners, Families USA, Forum for Youth Investment, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, GreenLight Fund, Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center, Healthcare Leadership Council, Hep Free Hawaii, Humana, iMentor, Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE), Institute for Child Success, Johns Hopkins University, Johnson & Johnson, KidSucceed LLC, Lakeshore Foundation, Let’s Grow Kids, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Lutheran Services in America, Macoupin County Public Health Department, Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc., Maycomb Capital Community Outcomes Fund, Meals on Wheels America, Medical Group Management Association, Molina, Nashville Health Disparities Coalition, National Alliance to impact the Social Determinants of Health (NASDOH), National Association of Accountable Care Organizations (NAACOS), 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, Nemours Children’s Health System, New Profit, New Teacher Center, Nonprofit Finance Fund, Nurse-Family Partnership, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, Penn Center for Community Health Workers, Population Health Alliance, Primary Care Collaborative, Project Evident, Purchaser Business Group on Health, Quantified Ventures, REDF, Results for America, Roca, Share Our Strength, Signify Health, Single Stop, SNP Alliance, Social Finance, Socially Determined, Solera, Springboard Collaborative, SSM Health, StriveTogether, The Community Transportation Association of America, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, The Root Cause Coalition, Tivity Health, TransUnion Healthcare, Uber Health, UPMC Health Plan, URAC, Vizient, Inc., WelCore Health LLC, Wester Governors Association, Wholesome Wave, Wyman Center, and YMCA of the USA.

2021-10-21T19:28:14+00:00October 21st, 2021|Press Release|

CDC selects 20 recipients to award funding through Closing the Gap with SDOH Accelerator Plans

Aligning for Health is thrilled that the CDC has made its selections for the recipients of the Closing the Gap with Social Determinants of Health Accelerator Plans planning grants. CDC selected 20 recipients across the country that will receive these awards, which will use this funding to accelerate implementation of public health strategies that are proven to improve chronic disease outcomes for individuals impacted by health disparities and inequities.

These awards will be used by recipients 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.

We look forward to seeing how these planning grants will set the foundation for accelerating cross-sector, evidence-based social determinants activities across the country. To view the recipients of these awards, click here.

2021-09-29T18:06:45+00:00September 29th, 2021|Press, Press Release|

Aligning for Health Submits Comments to the Congressional SDOH Caucus RFI

Aligning for Health was pleased to submit comments in response to the Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus request for information regarding challenges and opportunities in addressing social determinants of health.

Aligning for Health commented on specific SDOH challenges that most impact health, and how these areas have changed or been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic; prominent barriers to addressing SDOH and innovative examples, both from Aligning for Health members and other organizations, of programs that can offer solutions; and the role that coordinated networks can play in cross-sector coordination and data sharing.

We also provided recommendations on how Congress can leverage existing opportunities to improve coordination and alignment between health and social services organizations; existing legislative approaches that seek to improve coordination, capacity and evaluation of SDOH initiatives; and policies and strategies to better coordinate eligibility and enrollment processes for cross-sector programs.

To read the full response, see below or click here.

Aligning for Health - SDOH Caucus RFI Response - 21 Sept - Final
2021-09-22T17:31:52+00:00September 22nd, 2021|Press, Press Release|
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