BUSTOS BILL TO IMPROVE HEALTH OUTCOMES GAINS MOMENTUM

MOLINE – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) announced the support of four organizations for her bipartisan Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2019, which she introduced last month with Representatives Tom Cole (OK-04), Jim McGovern (MA-02) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05). This legislation would create a federal grant program to empower states and local governments to tackle persistent economic and social conditions — like limited access to health care providers, stable housing, reliable transportation and healthy foods — that often hinder health outcomes. The statements of support thanking Congresswoman Bustos for her leadership came from Aligning for Health, America Forward, LexisNexis Risk Solutions and America’s Health Insurance Plans.

“I introduced this legislation to help build on the work our Democratic majority is doing to lower the costs of health care and prescription drugs,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “But, conditions that impact our ability to lead a healthy, happy life must not be overlooked. After working in health care administration for a decade, I’ve seen these factors firsthand and it’s clear we must also address challenges like physician shortages, food deserts, safe housing and beyond. I thank Aligning for Health, America Forward, LexisNexis and America’s Health Insurance Plans for their support in these efforts.”

“The Social Determinants Accelerator Act is what we need to move the ball forward. It will provide state, local and tribal governments with additional capacity and support to help overcome these challenges. Thank you for your leadership and commitment to addressing social determinants of health to improve the well-being of our country’s most vulnerable populations and maximize the coordination across important safety net programs,” said Aligning for Health in a letter of support that included 14 Aligning for Health Members and the Aligning for Health Advisory Board Members as signatories.

“Economic and social conditions have a significant impact on health and wellness. Stable housing, access to high-quality education and high-wage employment, reliable transportation and healthy nutrition are all examples of social determinants of health that not only make for healthier communities, but can also make a measurable difference in the prevention and management of health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease, thereby reducing long-term health care costs […] Thank you for your leadership and commitment to addressing social determinants of health to improve the well-being of our country’s most vulnerable populations,” said America Forward in a letter of support that also included 34 additional signatories.

“LexisNexis Risk Solutions applauds and supports your introduction of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act. Your important legislation provides states and their communities with needed help toward the creation of Social Determinants Accelerator Plans in an effort to leverage evidence-based approaches to coordinate services and improve outcomes and cost-effectiveness,” said Lee Rivas, Chief Executive Officer, Public Sector and Health Care, LexisNexis Risk Solutions in a letter of support.

“A person’s health is influenced by several non-medical factors, including the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. Social barriers, such as reduced access to housing and healthy foods, can lead to poorer health for people, families, and communities. Health insurance providers are committed to improving the health of the individuals we serve – and the communities where they live. We commend Representatives Bustos, Cole, McGovern, and McMorris Rodgers for demonstrating strong leadership to address social determinants of health. Their proposal will strengthen the partnerships between Medicaid Managed Care Plans and community-based organizations to build effective solutions to tackle social barriers, drive value, and improve whole-person care for millions of Americans. We look forward to working with Congress, local policymakers, doctors, hospitals, and community leaders to improve whole person and community health, enhance quality of life, and drive down costs for everyone,” said Matt Eyles, President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans in a statement of support.

Other organizations who have expressed support for the legislation include the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Illinois Health and Hospital Association, OSF Health Care System, UnityPoint Health and the Corporation for Supportive Housing.

BACKGROUND

Economic and social conditions have a powerful impact on our health and wellness. Stable housing, reliable transportation and access to healthy foods are all factors that can make a difference in the prevention and management of many health conditions like diabetes, asthma and heart disease. Known as social determinants of health, a focus on these non-medical factors can improve health outcomes and wellbeing.

The Social Determinants Accelerator Act will help states and communities develop strategies to improve the health and wellbeing of families, especially those participating in Medicaid. The bill would make up to $25 million available to state, local and tribal governments to develop plans to target social determinants that are negatively impacting high-need patients. Additionally, the legislation would provide technical assistance to grantees to help them implement plans and identify federal authorities, opportunities and strategies to tackle health care challenges.

A one-pager on the bill can be found here and a section-by-section can be found here.

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