Screening for social needs
It is increasingly recognized that social determinants of health—factors such as socioeconomic status, education, housing stability, nutrition and access to health care—have a greater impact on the health of individuals than genetic predispositions or medical care. Researchers attribute 70 to 80 percent of health outcomes to social, behavioral and environmental factors. Addressing social determinants, thus, is essential to improving health, reducing health disparities and decreasing costs. As states grapple with expanded Medicaid coverage, they are introducing new payment models that hold providers financially accountable for quality outcomes. These payment models provide new incentives for providers to screen for and address unmet social needs—and many Medicaid programs are requiring that they do so. According to a recent survey by Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2017, 19 states required Medicaid plans to screen for and/or provide referrals for social needs.
This brief aims to provide consumer health advocates with an overview of social needs screening tools, so they can better advocate for the effective and culturally competent use of these tools in state public programs.
Screening for Social Needs. Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation; December 2018. Available online.