The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently provided a number of resources designed to facilitate better coordination of healthcare, public health, and social services among federal agencies, states, local governments, and tribal governments. One key resource is a 54-page playbook that offers guidance on addressing social determinants of health.
In the playbook, federal agencies are identified as taking action to improve the social circumstances of individuals in order to support health. It outlines various programs offered by agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Environmental Protection Agency. These initiatives aim to align investments to finance community infrastructure, offer grants to empower communities to address health-related social needs, and promote coordinated use of resources and data to improve health outcomes.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has emphasized the interconnected nature of health and the social determinants that influence it. He noted that access to stable housing, healthy food, and clean air all play a role in shaping individual health. Becerra has stressed the importance of addressing patients’ social conditions in a holistic manner, and he believes that the resources released by HHS will contribute to improving equal access to healthcare for all Americans and advancing a health system that benefits all individuals.
In addition to the playbook, HHS has released a call to action to address health-related social needs and a Medicaid and CHIP health-related social needs framework. These resources are intended to work in conjunction with the playbook to further support efforts to address social determinants of health and improve healthcare and public health outcomes for all Americans.