Understanding the Social Determinants of Health

While social determinants of health (SDOH) have long been acknowledged, the last few years have seen an exponential increase in the attention being paid to the complex circumstances members live in and also creating benefits to reduce health inequality. Our health system has shifted from benefits built around concrete demographics to the more intangible factors, like political or cultural constructs and place-based conditions. This transition aligns with another provider change toward value-based models, which incentivize preventative efforts and positive results over individual procedures and treatments.

Healthy People 2020 established a place-based framework for SDOH, broken down into five key areas: economic stability, social and community context, health/health care, neighborhood/built environment, and education.

The resources that affect quality of life can have a powerful influence on population health outcomes. Focusing on these resources can include benefits built around access to transportation, availability of healthy foods, and public safety.

Changing Requirements for Health Plans to Create Benefits Around Members

In 2018, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicare Advantage plans could begin expanding the health-related benefits they offer. In the announcement, CMS wrote that it would “allow supplemental benefits if they compensate for physical impairments, diminish the impact of injuries or health conditions, and/or reduce avoidable emergency room utilization.” In addition, many states now require Medicaid providers to screen enrollees for social issues and provide referrals to services.

One of the largest examples of a provider’s investment into the social determinants of health happened last month. UnitedHealthcare announced that it has invested more than $400 million toward increasing affordable housing access for people in underserved communities. The healthcare payer has supported more than 80 affordable-housing communities across the country, with more than 4500 homes for people in need.

How ALC Provides Freedom for Members to Have Happier, Healthier Lives

ALC partners with healthcare providers and facilities to create seamless transportation benefits for patients. Our team helps health plans navigate the benefit filing process with CMS and create the most efficient, comprehensive transportation plan. ALC offers tailored workflows for providers based on preferences or a specific population’s needs, such as:

  • Ride requests can be routed through our 24/call center or handled internally with provider case managers
  • Patients can request rides in real time or a set amount of time in advance
  • ALC works with providers to manage approved and prohibited location lists
  • Patients can use our provider-branded smartphone app or call from a landline

With custom reporting and real-time GPS, ALC’s innovative technology platform ensures the most cost-effective results. Our transportation benefit management offers patients freedom through reliable, on-time rides, which leads to both getting the treatments they need and living happier, healthier lives.

Ready to talk with our executives about adding or augmenting your transportation benefits?

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