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SDOH Advocacy Update 05/06/2024

SDOH Advocacy Update 05/06/2024

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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 May 06, 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.

FNS Announces New Option for SNAP Online Purchasing
The Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced they are piloting two new online-only retailers, called Thrive and DashMart, for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Over the last several years, more than 200 SNAP authorized retailers, representing thousands of storefront locations, have offered online purchasing to SNAP participants but Thrive and DashMart are the first online-only retailers without brick-and-mortar locations. This pilot program builds on FNS efforts to modernize SNAP to improve access and customer service and to further expand options for SNAP participants, especially those who live in areas with limited access to food and transportation.

HIPAA Privacy Rule to Support Reproductive Health Care Privacy
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced a final rule to strengthen the Health Insurance Portability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule related to lawful reproductive health care. The rule prohibits the use or disclosure of Protected Health Information (PHI) when it is sought to investigate or impose liability on individuals, health care providers, or others who seek, obtain, provide, or facilitate reproductive health care that is lawful under the circumstances in which such health care is provided. It also requires a regulated health care provider, health plan, clearinghouse, or their business associates to obtain a signed attestation that certain requests for PHI potentially related to reproductive health care are not for these prohibited purposes. Finally, it also requires regulated health care providers, health plans and clearinghouses to modify their Notice of Privacy Practices to support reproductive health care privacy.

S.4088 – Welcome Back to the Health Care Workforce Act
This bill was introduced by Senator Tim Kaine [D-VA] to address workforce shortages in the health care field. The bill would create a grant program administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to help connect internationally educated health care professionals with the resources they need to enter the health care workforce. Grants could be used to develop local- and state-level partnerships between health care organizations, community-based organizations, higher education, and state and local governments working to address the barriers internationally educated health care professionals face when joining the health care field. This support could include assistance with obtaining overseas academic or training records and navigating the U.S. licensing and credentialing process. Funding could also be used to establish work-readiness, peer support, mentoring, and culturally competent career counseling programs as well as providing continuing education training and English-language learning classes. Funding priority would be given to partnerships focused on supporting health care workers serving rural communities. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R.7908 – Commission on Youth Homelessness Act
This bill, introduced by Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi [D-IL], would direct the Department of Housing and Urban Development to establish a Commission on Youth Homelessness. The Commission would be made up of officials from the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, representatives from nonprofit homeless youth, civil rights and LGBTQIA+ organizations as well as individuals who have lived experience with homelessness. This group would be tasked with issuing a report outlining legislative recommendations to implement non-discriminatory housing applications for youth and young adults and employment safeguards to avoid discrimination in the absence of a permanent mailing address, housing history or employment history. The report would also include recommendations on improving access to mental health and substance use services and evidence-based solutions that federal agencies may take to prevent and end youth and young adult homelessness. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

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