Establishing a Case for the Social Determinants of Health

May 1, 2022

// By Susan Dubuque //

Susan DubuqueAs payers shift to value-based reimbursement, paying attention to social determinants of health is no longer optional.

When you think about supporting the health of your patients and building a healthier community, what comes to mind? A robust medical staff? Great technology? A beautiful new hospital facility? A wide range of clinical services?

Of course, all these things contribute to good health. But the building blocks of a truly healthy community must include consideration of the social determinants of health (SDOH).

SDOH are the “conditions in the environments where people are born, live, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.”1

From a business perspective, especially if your health system has value-based contracts, it makes sense to find ways to address SDOH.

Large payers such as Aetna and United Healthcare are aggressively moving their provider contracts to value-based care, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) remain committed to value-based programs. In 2021, more than 40 percent of U.S. health care payments stemmed from value-based reimbursement models.2 Initiatives related to SDOH lend themselves to this type of payment structure.

Read on to learn how consideration of SDOH can support your organization’s strategic business goals as well as your mission to build a healthier community.

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