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SDOH Advocacy Update - 04/01/2024

SDOH Advocacy Update - 04/01/2024

Advocacy News TRCC News SDOH News

The Latest Advocacy and Government Relations News

The Root Cause Coalition is dedicated to amplifying the voices of communities and driving impactful policy reforms. As a nonprofit committed to addressing the root causes of health disparities and poverty, we aim to educate our members on recent news and research that advocates for equitable healthcare access and influencing policy decisions that combat food insecurity and poverty. 

Read our April 22, 2024 news on social drivers and advocacy updates below:

Social Drivers in the News:

Register for Black Health Matters Spring 2024 Health Summit & Expo
Health equity is achieved when everyone has the opportunity to attain their full health potential. Addressing the unique health needs of the Black community is essential in realizing this vision. The Black Health Matters (BHM) team invites you to join them for the Spring 2024 Health Summit & Expo. The Summit & Expo will take place both in-person and virtually on April 13, 2024, at 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET. The in-person event will be held at the Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University. Attendees can expect engaging panel discussions, presentations on vital health topics, free health screenings, entertainment, food, prizes and more! Register for more information here.
Addressing Patients’ Unmet Social Needs: Checklists Are a Means, Trust Is Foundational
This study discusses the urgent need to address systemic inequities in health care, highlighted by recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. Trust-building between clinicians and patients is becoming an increasingly influential facet of patient-centered care. However, current approaches that aim to implement SDOH factors, such as SDOH checklists, may not fully address patients' needs and could reinforce clinician dominance. Transitioning to a more patient-centered model, using human-centered design principles, and aligning incentives for both clinicians and patients could yield better patient care. 
Latest Gap Report Reveals Only 34 Affordable and Available Homes Exist for Every 100 Extremely Low-Income Renter Households
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released the latest version of its annual report The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable HomesThe report found that the lowest-income renters in the U.S. face a shortage of 7.3 million affordable and available rental homes and nearly three-quarters of renters with extremely low incomes are severely cost-burdened, spending more than half of their income on rent. This shortage of rental homes disproportionately impacts Black, Latino and Indigenous households, as these households are both more likely to be renters and to have extremely low incomes. The private housing market cannot adequately serve renters with extremely low incomes and funding for housing assistance is insufficient, creating a systemic national problem. To address this crisis, Congress must make sustained investments in income-targeted programs such as the national Housing Trust Fund, Housing Choice Vouchers and public housing. 
To Better Connect Climate Change with Health, Focus on Patient Education
This article highlights the importance of the physician-patient relationship in educating about the health effects of climate change. Climate change is an ever-increasing threat to public health and there is a deep lack of tools and frameworks for mitigating its impact. This article proposes a strategic framework for physicians to engage in climate change education and advocacy. Physicians are urged to initiate conversations, build informative connections and take action at various levels—focusing on the significance of individual voices and the need for iterative processes to extend the impact.

SDoH Advocacy Update:

H.Res.1083 – Recognizing the longstanding and invaluable contributions of Black midwives to maternal and infant health in the United States
Introduced by Representative Gwen Moore [D-WI], this resolution acknowledges the role of Black midwives in helping to achieve better infant and maternal health outcomes by addressing fundamental gaps in access to high-quality care. It recognizes March 14, 2024, as “Black Midwives Day” to increase attention to the state of Black maternal health in the U.S., the root causes of poor maternal health outcomes and the need for community-driven policies, programs and care solutions. The resolution encourages federal, state and local governments to take proactive measures to address racial disparities in maternal health outcomes by supporting initiatives aimed at diversifying the perinatal workforce and increasing access to culturally congruent maternal health care. It also commits to developing policy solutions that promote health equity, address systemic racism and support the advancement of Black midwifery and calls for increased funding for Black midwifery education, training and mentorship programs. The resolution was referred to the Committees on Energy and Commerce and Armed Services.
S.3501 – Grandfamilies Act
This bill was introduced by Senator Bob Casey [D-PA] to assist children living with grandparents and other family members since approximately one in five grandfamilies live at or below the federal poverty line. The bill would provide grandfamilies and kinship families expanded access to cash benefits, including increasing access to Social Security child’s benefits and eliminating barriers to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to make financial resources more accessible to grandfamilies. It would also establish a grants program for states to develop plans for how appropriate state agencies can collaborate in their efforts to provide financial support, housing services and other services and how to simplify or combine application requirements for state public assistance programs to reduce administrative burdens on grandfamilies. The bill would also provide funding to establish cross-sector partnerships that foster the integration of new or existing activities, designed to increase the health, well-being, financial security or legal standing of members of grandfamilies or kinship families. The bill was referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs where hearings were recently held.  
H.R.7619 – Expand the Behavioral Health Workforce Now Act
This bill was introduced by Representative Joe Neguse [D-CO] to address both the health care workforce shortages and the growing mental health crisis in the U.S. The bill would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue guidance to states on strategies under Medicaid and CHIP that would increase education, training, recruitment and retention of mental health and substance use disorder care providers that participate in Medicaid or CHIP. Focus would particularly be given as to how best improve the capacity of the mental health and substance use disorder care workforce in rural and underserved areas, such as strategies on how states may utilize waivers under section 1115 of the Social Security Act. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. 
S.3830 – Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program Establishment Act
This bill, introduced by Senator Alex Padilla [D-CA], would direct the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency to re-establish the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which expired in 2023. This program would provide grants to states, territories and tribes to assist low-income households with paying their water bills, preventing water shutoffs and restoring drinking water and wastewater services. The bill would also expand access to the program by aligning LIHEAP eligibility requirements for low-income households with other assistance programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

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