The Physicians Foundation announces important advances in addressing the social determinants of health

The very first SDOH measures enacted by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

New grant program launched for state and regional medical associations to address patient SDOH

Companion announced to advance physician-led SDOH programs

BOSTON, August 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Physicians Foundation announced three major advances as part of its comprehensive recommendations to address social drivers of health (SDOH). Released earlier this year, the Physicians Foundation Part One of Three: 2022 Survey of America’s Physicians stressed the importance of SDOH and highlighted the obstacles physicians encounter in their efforts to address them. While nine out of ten physicians want to address patients’ SDOH, six out of ten physicians lack the time and ability to do so. In response to these findings, the Physicians Foundation announces the following milestones that will advance the way we pay for and deliver healthcare to improve health:

  • The first-ever SDOH set of measures, submitted by the Physicians Foundation to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), was accepted for inclusion in state payment programs
  • A new medical association grant program is launched to develop state-level capacity, resources and data collection to assist physicians in integrating SDOH screening and SDOH-related resource navigation into their medical practice
  • a new companion, Ryan LoweryMD, has been appointed to advance research on SDOH and its impact on all aspects of healthcare

“We know eight out of ten doctors believe that The United States cannot improve health outcomes or reduce health care costs without addressing the social drivers of health,” said gary price, MD, President of the Physicians Foundation. “The Physicians Foundation is committed to continuing our efforts to provide solutions that encompass strategies and structure for physicians to manage SDOH and ultimately improve patient health outcomes. The advances announced today represent major advances in that effort, and we welcome the engagement of others in our healthcare system on this critical issue.”

Very first SDOH measures
On August 1st, CMS published the finale Expected hospitalization payment scheme for FY23 Rule in which it officially adopted the very first SDOH Dimensions. These measures are screening and positive screening rates for the percentage of patients 18 years and older for food insecurity, housing instability, transportation issues, need for assistance, and interpersonal safety. They will enable hospitals to better care for patients holistically and provide quality physical and mental health care.

This milestone is the result of the proposal the Physicians Foundation submitted to CMS last year on screening rate and screening positive rate measures. These actions are consistent with the Foundation’s practical recommendations for addressing SDOH: Improving America’s Health Care System: Recognize the Realities of Patients’ Lives and Invest in Addressing Social Drivers of Health.

Medical Association SDOH grant program
The Physicians Foundation is launching a new grant program focused on improving the capacity for medical associations to support physicians SDOH Screening and resource connection. The program will support community initiatives that enable physicians to streamline the integration of SDOH into their practices in a way that improves patient health and adds value.

Physician associations stay current with the physicians and patients in their local communities and provide important insights for SDOH screening and resource navigation implementation—especially when meeting the unique needs of small practices. The intention of this grant program is that the information gained can support each association’s future policy efforts in relation to the other top strategies identified, including community capacity, administrative burden and the creation of financial incentives.

To apply for the fellowship program, register and log in to the Physicians Foundation’s online application system.

Scholarship program announces new scholarship recipients
Ryan Lowerymd, a board-certified physician specializing in pediatrics, has been selected as a new Fellow of the Physicians Foundation fellowship program. The Fellowship program aims to expand leadership skills for physicians to address barriers to physician well-being, improve the practice environment, and build understanding SDOH Consequences for patients and doctors. During his career to date, Dr. Lowery devoted his work to addressing SDOH and health equity, including working on systems to review and respond to the patient’s social health needs in their community.

“The Physicians Foundation is making strides in providing practical solutions designed to help physicians address the social determinants of health,” she said Robert Seligson, CEO of the Physicians Foundation. “We recognize the critical impact of socially-related health determinants on patient care and hope that the health care system will continue to focus on improving health while reducing health care costs and the administrative burden on physicians.”

About the Medical Foundation
The Physicians Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the work of practicing physicians and helping them provide quality healthcare to patients. As the US healthcare system continues to evolve, The Physicians Foundation works tirelessly to strengthen the doctor-patient relationship, support the sustainability of medical practices, and help physicians navigate the changing healthcare system. The Physicians Foundation pursues its mission through research, education, and innovative funding that improves physician well-being, strengthens physician leadership, addresses social drivers of health, and improves physician perspectives. For more information visit www.physiciansfoundation.org.

SOURCE The Medical Foundation

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