The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently published a comprehensive playbook that focuses on addressing social determinants of health. This 54-page resource outlines the measures that federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Environmental Protection Agency, are taking to support health by addressing the social circumstances of individuals.
The playbook emphasizes the interconnected nature of health and social conditions and stresses the importance of addressing patients’ social conditions in order to holistically improve healthcare and public health. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra discussed how access to stable housing, healthy food, and clean air can greatly impact people’s overall health and expressed his belief that focusing on these factors can help to ensure equal access to healthcare for all Americans and contribute to the improvement of healthcare outcomes for everyone.
In addition to the playbook, HHS has also introduced a call to action to address health-related social needs and a Medicaid and CHIP health-related social needs framework, both of which are designed to complement the content of the playbook. These resources aim to further support efforts to address social determinants of health and create opportunities for improved healthcare access and outcomes for all Americans.
Overall, this playbook highlights how addressing social determinants of health is crucial in improving overall healthcare outcomes for individuals and communities alike. It serves as a valuable resource for federal agencies, states, local governments, and tribal authorities in their efforts to promote coordination between healthcare, public health, and social services programs aimed at improving health equity in America.