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SDOH Advocacy Update 04/29/2024

SDOH Advocacy Update 04/29/2024

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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 29, 2024 news on social drivers and advocacy updates below:

Social Drivers in the News:

NLIHC State and Local Innovation Project
The National Low Income Housing Commission (NLIHC) launched a State and Local Innovation Project to support state and local partners in advancing, implementing and enforcing state and local tenant protections, creating and sustaining emergency rental assistance programs, preventing the criminalization of homelessness, and supporting the advancement of housing innovations that seek to keep eviction rates down and prevent homelessness. Their goal is to empower a movement that will strengthen tenants’ rights, prevent evictions and promote housing stability for renter households with the lowest incomes. NLIHC’s State and Local Innovation Project’s efforts also help to shape and inform federal policies that meet the needs of the lowest-income and most marginalized renters around the country.

Advancing Racial Equity in U.S. Healthcare
The Commonwealth Fund has been monitoring health and health care across U.S. states for almost two decades, aiming to understand how policies affect health outcomes and to inspire change for better community health. Their latest report evaluates health disparities among racial and ethnic groups across states, analyzing 25 health system performance indicators. Findings report pervasive disparities, with Black, Hispanic and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities facing greater challenges in health outcomes, access to care and care quality.

Transportation Remains a Big Barrier to Health Care
The American Hospital Association identifies transportation as a crucial factor in health care accessibility, impacting millions of Americans, particularly those with chronic liver disease (CLD). Marina Serper and Nneka Ufere's study in Hepatology Communications highlights the challenges faced by CLD patients due to transportation insecurity, linking it to financial strain, health decline and increased mortality. The study concludes that individuals experiencing transportation barriers often additionally struggle with food and financial insecurity, compounding their vulnerability and pointing to the need for policy that advocates for equity across the board.

WHO report reveals gender inequalities at the root of global crisis in health and care work
The World Health Organization’s new report, “Fair share for health and care: gender and the undervaluation of health and care work,” shows how gender inequalities in health and care work negatively impact women, health systems and health outcomes. This report demonstrates the chronic underinvestment in health and care work and how that is contributing to a global crisis of care that hampers women’s economic power and overall gender equality. The report highlights how gender-equitable investments in health and care work would drive more inclusive economic participation and presents six policy recommendations to better value health and care work.

SDoH Advocacy Update

TRCC’s Equity Legislation Monitor for 118th Congress
TRCC’s Equity Legislation Monitor (ELM) was developed by TRCC to identify priority issues affecting health disparities and relevant legislation that address them. The ELM provides updates and pertinent information on research, news and legislation in eight priority areas: digital equity; environment and climate change; gun violence prevention; housing; maternal health; nutrition and food security; rural health; and payment models. A new subpage has been added to the nutrition and food security page focusing on Food is Medicine. Click here to see the new page and check out the ELM. 

CMS Holds National Stakeholder Call
Tomorrow, April 30 at 1 p.m. ET, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, and her leadership team will provide an update on CMS’s recent accomplishments and what they are working on to advance the CMS Strategic Plan. The second National Stakeholder Call in 2024 will provide a more in-depth look at recent policy announcements and an opportunity to learn how organizations can partner with CMS to help implement their Strategic Plan and key initiatives. If you would like to join the call, click here to register.

Bipartisan Letter Urges House and Senate Leadership To Preserve The Affordable Connectivity Program
Representative Yvette D. Clarke [D-NY] recently led 158 colleagues in a bipartisan letter urging House and Senate leadership to preserve the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which is set to run out of funding at the end of April. The ACP, administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), works to close the digital divide by expanding access to low-cost broadband services. It provides affordable high-speed internet options to households who qualify for Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and other federal assistance programs. In the letter, members call to fund the program for the rest of the year to allow Congress the opportunity to reach an agreement on program guidelines without undoing the progress made to close the digital divide. A group of 33 Senators also released a similar letter calling for the continuation of the ACP which can be read here.

S.4079 – Rural Obstetrics Readiness Act
This bill was introduced by Senator Maggie Hassan [D-NH] to provide support for rural health care facilities to provide urgent obstetric care. The bill would establish evidence-based programs to provide practitioners working in rural health care facilities without dedicated obstetric units with training in emergency obstetric services during pregnancy, labor, delivery or the postpartum period. It would also establish a grants program allowing rural health care facilities to integrate obstetric readiness training curriculum into rural health care settings, build workforce capacity and purchase equipment necessary to manage obstetric emergencies. Additionally, the bill would create a pilot program for teleconsultation services, allowing providers at rural facilities to quickly consult with maternal health care experts during emergencies. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R.7863 – Expanding Language Access in Telehealth Act
This bill was introduced by Representative Michelle Steel [R-CA] to improve language access for patients with Limited English Proficiency who are seeking health care services. The bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue and disseminate guidance on best practices for health care providers to work with interpreters to furnish behavioral health services via video-based and audio-only telehealth when video-based telehealth is not an option. It would also issue best practices on teaching patients, especially those with limited English proficiency, to use video-based telehealth platforms as well as how to best provide patient materials, communications and instructions in multiple languages, including text message appointment reminders and prescription information. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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