Managing Director National Quality Forum Washington, District of Columbia
Health care disparities are often viewed through the lens of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status, but they occur across multiple dimensions, including age, geography, language, gender, disability status, citizenship status and sexual orientation. The complicated and interrelated factors that contribute to disparate health outcomes and increased costs are referred to as social determinants of health (SDOH). Within the health care system, there are multi-payer federal and state initiatives focused on addressing social needs. These include models under the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Medicaid delivery system and payment reform initiatives, and options under Medicaid.
There has been increased recognition that improving health and achieving health equity will require broader approaches that address social, economic, and environmental factors that influence health. For health care providers and insurers in particular, health disparities impact the bottom line through higher costs, avoidable readmissions, and slower business growth due to lower member satisfaction rates.
A review of literature, expert insights, and case studies of health care companies that have taken promising steps to address health care disparities will provide practical and real-world examples as a foundation for health care leaders to build their own health equity efforts. The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Americans in specific disadvantaged communities highlights the importance understanding the value of SDOH and addressing health care disparities.
Learning Objectives: :
At the completion of this activity, participants should be able to:
Identify community conditions that affect population health.
Identify the growing state and federal initiatives to address SDOH within the health care system.
Identify opportunities to advance health equity while also strengthening organizational economic performance.
List ways core health care services can be modified or enhanced to reduce health care disparities and improve health outcomes.