The Social Determinants Accelerator Act (SDAA) of 2021 was recently passed in the House. This bipartisan bill would make over $25 million available, over the next five years, to improve population health in low-income, at-risk, and rural populations.
Addressing SDoH without proper funding can often be challenging, but this act will facilitate more cost-effective and sustainable solutions by funneling money directly to state, local, or tribal health or human services agencies to help build them develop and implement social determinants of health interventions.
What the SDAA entails
Introduced into the House by Reps. Bustos (D-IL), Cole (R-OK), McGovern (D-MA), and Mullin (R-OK), the SDAA addresses several key problems that impede government capacity to improve health and social outcomes.
In order to receive grant funding, state, local, and tribal governments will be required to provide specific information, which includes, but is not limited to:
- Which interventions will be used
- Which target populations will benefit
- How data will be linked across programs to deliver service
- Which organizations will participate
- Which waiver authorities will be leveraged
- What the health and social outcome will be
- How they plan to measure the impact
If the act is approved, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would award 25 grants to eligible applicants and up to 25% of them would be dedicated to serving rural populations. They would also spearhead an advisory council on social determinants of health with program experts from the federal government, state and local government officials, and the private sector. The council will also invite representatives from Medicaid agencies, public housing authorities, non-profit organizations, and others in the community to share their expertise and offer guidance.
The council would provide assistance to grantees, with the support of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to help them carry out their plans by identifying federal authorities, strategies for blending funds, and opportunities for cross-program coordination. This bill, in essence, will support the infrastructure and cross-sector interventions needed to coordinate social services through Medicaid programs.
What this means for health plans and organizations
Oftentimes, relationships between payers and CBOs can be fraught with issues like inconsistent funding, mistrust, and data-sharing challenges. This legislation will be revolutionary for all members of the healthcare ecosystem. When government entities, healthcare organizations, and social service providers work in an integrated, collaborative, and goal-aligned manner, they reimagine a future in which all partners are valued and all populations are guaranteed better access to care.
This act would provide funding to support a more cohesive healthcare ecosystem that recognizes the value of cross-sector partnerships between payers, community organizations, and companies like Healthify, to advance greater patient-centered care.
It is supported by more than 339 national, state, and local organizations, including National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), National Rural Health Association, and Well Being Trust, as well as 75 healthcare organizations in the United States, including American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and eHealth Initiative.
How Healthify is supporting SDoH initiatives
Support for SDoH has been growing. Recently, the Biden Administration announced that $153 million would go toward CDC's Social Determinants of Health Program to support states and territories in improving health equity and data collection for vulnerable populations.
The Social Determinants Accelerator Act (SDAA) of 2021 is a landmark piece of legislation. If and when the SDAA is signed into law remains to be seen, but this bill would be a tremendous advancement for the future of healthcare and population health. By integrating social services into health care delivery, it would not only improve health disparities in low-income or at-risk populations but also enhance the overall well-being of communities.
We know what it takes to build a cost-effective, sustainable SDoH infrastructure that relies on predictive analytics, data sharing, and cross-sector collaboration. We’d love to discuss our services with you and how we can best support your SDoH initiatives.