Federal funding might enhance SDoH infrastructure

Federal funding might enhance SDoH infrastructure

Social determinants of well being (SDoH)—the situations during which folks stay and the methods that form these situations—are more and more receiving consideration. The COVID-19 pandemic, by exacerbating inequities and highlighting the prevalence of unmet fundamental wants,


has accelerated efforts to handle SDoH.


State Medicaid businesses, payers, suppliers, distributors, community-based organizations (CBOs), and different stakeholders have taken up the torch and are laying the foundations for long-term SDoH applications (see sidebar “What are social determinants of well being?”).






Regardless of the momentum, nonetheless, many stakeholders throughout the ecosystem are nonetheless within the early phases of addressing sufferers’ SDoH sustainably and at scale. Stakeholders largely cite funding as the most important barrier to actual progress.


Many stakeholders know of accessible funding for delivering companies corresponding to meals help, housing assist, and transportation. Nonetheless, choices for funding information, analytics, and know-how infrastructure that may optimize efforts to ship companies are much less well-known. However this funding does certainly exist. And it may be used to assist information integration (collating social-needs information alongside medical and different information) and screening and referral capabilities (enterprise processes and capabilities that embody SDoH information units to drive enrollment into focused case administration profiles for sufferers’ threat profile).






In pursuing these applications and searching for to safe funding, coordination throughout stakeholders could also be essential. SDoH is minimize throughout a wide range of focus areas and could possibly be addressed higher by working throughout payers, suppliers, states, communities, and different native actors and businesses. SDoH distributors can work alongside states and different entities to determine these funding prospects and unify disparate stakeholders to unlock monetary help, doubtlessly leading to evidence-based options throughout methods, medical departments, and applications—and, finally, elevated affect (see sidebar “Federal funding alternatives for actors that tackle social determinants of well being”).






This text describes 4 federal financing mechanisms which might be out there to assist SDoH information and analytics efforts and concerns for accessing them. Whereas these insights primarily concentrate on prospects for state Medicaid businesses, there are implications and potential alternatives for stakeholders throughout the ecosystem. This evaluation just isn’t exhaustive; slightly, it supplies a useful start line for planning and forming partnerships to assist SDoH.

4 federal-funding channels can be found for SDoH infrastructure efforts






Stakeholders can think about 4 federal-funding channels to advance their SDoH objectives: waivers and authorities, federal businesses and applications, rising alternatives ensuing from current laws, and managed-care requirements and assist. A few of these federal channels present ongoing assist, for instance, by means of a federal match or reimbursement technique, whereas others present one-time assist corresponding to by means of grants (see sidebar “Definitions of funding phrases”). Native- or state-level and personal or philanthropic funding, whereas not evaluated on this article, might present extra funding alternatives for stakeholders to think about.

1. Waivers and authorities

Though federal Medicaid funds are historically used to cowl the prices of medical companies, a wide range of waivers and authorities have added flexibility so these funds can cowl nonmedical companies outdoors of the Medicaid state plan—corresponding to case administration, meals assist, and housing assist—that contribute to well being outcomes (Exhibit 1). This added flexibility may cowl information and analytics infrastructure to assist enhance how SDoH companies are delivered and the outcomes of those companies on folks’s lives.


The Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Companies (CMS) articulated a lot of these waivers, authorities, and different helps out there to handle SDoH in a letter to state well being officers in 2021.


Extra lately, the Medicaid and CHIP Fee and Entry Fee (MACPAC) launched a difficulty transient on SDoH financing methods.



Federal funding might enhance SDoH infrastructure





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Whereas waivers and authorities primarily fund direct-service supply authorities, states usually have flexibility within the proposals they put forth by means of waivers—for instance, they could outline their very own demonstration challenge or pilot for an 1115 waiver. However waivers additionally usually embody pointers—corresponding to demanding price range neutrality or {that a} challenge demonstrates worth by way of high quality and value to the Medicaid program—to make sure consistency in desired outcomes.


Federal matches from Medicaid waivers and authorities, in addition to grants from the Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation Heart (CMMI), are among the many mostly used federal-funding sources for state Medicaid businesses to assist SDoH information and programming efforts up to now (see sidebar “How California and North Carolina have harnessed waivers to advance SDoH information and know-how infrastructure”).

2. Federal applications and businesses

Federal applications and businesses embody sources that recurrently fund state Medicaid businesses and have supported SDoH and information and analytics infrastructure efforts, in addition to sources that assist SDoH efforts however are usually not generally identified for funding state Medicaid businesses (Exhibit 2).



Many federal programs and agencies are available to support social determinants of health.





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Conventional state Medicaid assist. Conventional-funding sources that state Medicaid businesses can entry come from each the CMMI and the Medicaid Enterprise System (MES) by means of the Heart for Medicaid and CHIP Companies (CMCS). CMMI supplies grants to check modified cost approaches and, at instances, provides particular grants to assist SDoH initiatives. For instance, CMMI’s previous Accountable Well being Communities Mannequin grants linked Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to group companies with funding for screening social wants, referrals, and care navigation.


Extra SDoH-related funding alternatives are more likely to come up from CMMI on condition that it prioritizes well being fairness as a core strategic goal and addressing SDoH may help obtain this fairness.






CMCS MES approval, by comparability, is an ongoing funding supply to advance Medicaid infrastructure and know-how. CMCS MES funding is often utilized by states to construct broader information and infrastructure however has up to now been a largely untapped supply for SDoH information and infrastructure capability-building (see sidebar “An in-depth have a look at CMCS MES funding”).

Funding from different authorities applications and businesses. Different federal applications and businesses whose missions align with SDoH-related priorities, such because the Well being Assets and Companies Administration, Division of Housing and City Growth, and Division of Agriculture, amongst others, current extra potential federal-funding sources. Stakeholders could possibly codevelop SDoH information and referral options by contemplating potential flexibility beneath block grants (that’s, grants from a federal to native authority, usually with flexibility to be used) or by means of partnerships with different organizations that generally obtain funding from these sources—corresponding to cities, counties, native public-health departments, and not-for-profits.

Others have set the precedent of utilizing funding from these sources for SDoH-related technological assist. For instance, 211 San Diego is a not-for-profit group connecting people with group, well being, and catastrophe companies. With a mixture of company, basis, and authorities sources—together with US Division of Agriculture (USDA) sources supporting referral-related know-how—it has developed a cellular utility that provides customers updates as they progress within the means of discovering group companies.

Different businesses, such because the CDC, have traditionally been much less conventional sources for state Medicaid assist however might current a higher alternative going ahead. Certainly, the CDC is forecasting an funding of roughly $4 billion by means of grants for strengthening US public-health infrastructure, workforce, and information methods that could be open to entities corresponding to state and native governments.

3. Latest laws

Latest legal guidelines such because the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Regulation have elevated the federal funding out there to assist SDoH-related efforts. This laws is offering direct meals and housing helps in addition to investments in information modernization and infrastructure. For instance, it was introduced that funding from ARPA would additionally assist the CDC’s public well being infrastructure, workforce, and information modernization efforts.

A lot of this funding shall be seen by means of the federal applications and sources listed above, and SDoH stakeholders can look ahead to future grants and associated alternatives from these new sources. An instance of that is the inclusion of the Digital Fairness Act within the Bipartisan Infrastructure Regulation, which allocates $2.75 billion over 5 years to handle, for instance, broadband infrastructure to enhance healthcare outcomes in underserved communities (Exhibit 3).








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4. Managed-care requirements and assist






There may be potential to unlock funding for SDoH by means of requirements and helps associated to managed care (Exhibit 4). Managed care—a funding mannequin by means of which funds are per affected person slightly than per service, with various levels of monetary threat—just isn’t itself a federal funding mechanism. However states can entry federal assist by means of federal grant initiatives associated to managed care. For instance, CMS different cost mannequin innovation funding, corresponding to previous State Innovation Mannequin (SIM) grants, are associated to managed care (see sidebar “How Michigan used SIM funding and MCO necessities to advance SDoH infrastructure”). The SIM initiative supplied federal assist for states advancing multipayer healthcare cost and supply system reform fashions to attain higher high quality of care, enhance care outcomes, and ship decrease prices.


States might proceed to search for future CMMI grants targeted on advancing managed care and progressive cost fashions to unlock SDoH information and potential infrastructure assist.



States may be able to access federal support through federal-grant initiatives and federal standards related to managed care.





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Stakeholders can even be aware of federal requirements that may have an effect on managed care, corresponding to medical loss ratio (MLR) inclusion laws.


MLR is a monetary measurement outlined by CMS that appears to exhibit and guarantee worth for beneficiaries. This worth is measured by high quality enchancment actions to enhance healthcare outcomes, together with wellness and SDoH.


Linking SDoH investments to high quality enchancment might assist states unlock extra assist.

Past these federal helps, states have the flexibleness to encourage innovation in SDoH throughout managed-care organizations (MCOs). For instance, MCOs can use value-added companies and “in lieu of” companies to supply companies that will embody SDoH-related advantages; states may use procurement, contracts, and efficiency administration throughout MCOs to encourage SDoH-related improvements.

Information supplies perception into who has unmet fundamental wants, and a referral platform can enable people to be related to well timed interventions that enhance well being outcomes.


Potential actions to advance SDoH infrastructure efforts

Throughout funding mechanisms, states might think about eight actions to construct on the present momentum round and enhance emphasis on well being fairness and SDoH to advance SDoH information and know-how infrastructure efforts and doubtlessly seize the total worth of accessible funding channels.

Integrating SDoH into broader strategic priorities. To unlock federal assist for SDoH, states, distributors, payers, suppliers, and others are more and more highlighting that SDoH is integral to broader strategic priorities throughout organizations slightly than a one-off challenge. For the Medicaid program, for instance, addressing SDoH could possibly be a part of the technique to enhance particular person and population-level outcomes and to decrease care supply prices.

Articulating how SDoH information and infrastructure is a essential enabler. Along with integrating SDoH into broader strategic priorities, stakeholders might want to emphasize the significance of SDoH information, know-how, and infrastructure as an enabler to unlocking the worth from SDoH. For instance, information supplies perception into who has unmet fundamental wants, and a referral platform can enable people to be related to well timed interventions that enhance well being outcomes. Emphasizing the function of SDoH information, know-how, and infrastructure in enabling these efforts might assist states and different stakeholders in accessing less-traditional funding mechanisms for this function.

Bridging the hole between IT or information applications and service-delivery applications. To foster higher coordination and affect, IT and repair supply departments might work in tandem, recognizing the worth SDoH information and know-how can have in accelerating and enhancing service supply efforts.

Partnering and mixing funding mechanisms. Stakeholders might think about combining or sequencing funding mechanisms—from a number of federal sources in addition to state, native, non-public, and different sources—to doubtlessly unlock higher resourcing and guarantee sustainability. For instance, if a state receives an 1115 waiver to advance SDoH information and know-how, it might additionally pursue CMCS MES funding to advance the trouble. To successfully streamline funding throughout companions, stakeholders might think about the right way to collaborate and work on joint efforts with a deliberate method to cooperative governance. This partnership or coalition-based method might unlock higher entry to disparate funding mechanisms and guarantee higher alignment throughout the SDoH ecosystem (Exhibit 5).

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Increasing goal beneficiary populations. Stakeholders might additionally think about steps to develop SDoH efforts to a wide range of beneficiary populations, corresponding to pregnant girls and youngsters, as SDoH information and know-how permits a deeper understanding of wants and a higher attain with efforts. For instance, closed-loop referrals can assist an enormous array of sufferers. This will likely additionally assist states and different stakeholders in accessing less-traditional funding sources, corresponding to from authorities businesses.

Evaluating governance and functionality gaps. Throughout funding sources, clear programming governance and a robust understanding of present state information and know-how capabilities and gaps could possibly be key to success in SDoH efforts.

Assessing approaches to implement SDoH infrastructure. Stakeholders might think about approaches corresponding to Medicaid contracting, MCO necessities and MLR allowances, well being info alternate (HIE) partnerships, and department-specific initiatives to implement SDoH know-how and infrastructure.

Contemplating how information is gathered and retained, stakeholders may wish to think about what sorts of information and information assortment and transmission requirements are required to assist SDoH within the context of interoperability. As conversations on interoperability proceed, stakeholders will probably want discussions on information possession, information methods of fact, and the way the information is utilized in a means that optimizes and contextualizes care supply and outcomes that drives holistic affect for a person.


Stakeholders throughout the broader healthcare ecosystem can come collectively and construct on the momentum presently surrounding SDoH to doubtlessly unlock transformational affect for sufferers and communities whereas additionally contributing to improved healthcare and financial productiveness. Though quite a few federal-funding prospects can be found in silos, a collaborative or partner-driven technique—during which human companies, Medicaid, and different stakeholders work collectively to make use of their related funding mechanisms to assist the wants of their shared beneficiaries—might doubtlessly enhance the affect of SDoH efforts. This collaboration might encourage information sharing that will remodel stakeholders’ understanding of unmet fundamental wants, together with the right way to tackle them.

Authorized disclaimer: These supplies don’t represent authorized, medical, coverage, or different regulated recommendation. The recipient stays solely answerable for all choices, use of those supplies, and compliance with relevant legal guidelines, guidelines, laws, and requirements.

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