Psychotherapy Concept. Mental Health Disorders

Actions speak louder than words.

Several impactful events occurred in the arena of the social determinants of health (SDoH) over these past few weeks. The healthcare industry has clearly been listening to my rant about being on data overload without strategic action; that action is now happening, and in big ways.

First is some important news for Aunt Bertha, the closed-loop social network that leverages every case manager’s, care coordinator’s, and social worker’s favorite website, Findhelp.org.

A total of $27 million in new funding will enable Aunt Bertha to enhance its assorted free and paid offerings, further expand its new marketplace, and provide growing support for professionals and volunteers connecting people to social services. Findhelp.org is already the largest social care network in the country, with over 470,000 program locations and 1,295 vetted listings accessible to people in need in every ZIP code in America.

The new marketplace will allow customers to order social goods and services to immediately meet needs of people seeking help; eligibility screening, outcome tracking, and payments and invoicing for social goods and services ordering will also be available. Some examples of marketplace implementations include powering car seat orders for Medicaid members in Texas, food box delivery orders in Pennsylvania, and Uber rides to vaccination sites managed by one of Michigan’s largest health systems, Beaumont Health. 

Next up, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is amplifying action to address health disparities through 20 new grants. The Closing the Gap with Social Determinants of Health Accelerator Plan grants are geared to support plans that involve governments, private businesses, nonprofit and community organizations, and healthcare organizations. Community health assessments and long-range planning to address the SDoH are major program incentives.

Each CDC grant will be in the amount of $125,000. Each of the 10 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regions will be limited to three awards to promote geographic diversity, and at least one U.S. territory and one indigenous American tribe will be funded. Only government entities and tribal organizations can apply. Health systems and hospitals working on an accelerator plan must partner with local or state governmental agencies to obtain and utilize this funding.

Eligible applicants include the following:

  • City or municipal governments;
  • State governments;
  • Indigenous American tribal organizations (other than federally recognized tribal governments);
  • County governments;
  • Special district governments; and
  • Federally recognized indigenous American tribal governments

Applicants must also be physically located and operate in the state, tribe, locality, or territory in which work is proposed. More information can be found on the CDC website.

Programming Note: Listen to Ellen Fink-Samnick’s live reporting on the SDoH Mondays on Monitor Mondays at 10 Eastern.