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SDOH Advocacy Update 05/20/2024

SDOH Advocacy Update 05/20/2024

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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 20, 2024 news on social drivers and advocacy updates below:

Social Drivers in the News:

In Oregon, Medicaid Is Buying People Air Conditioners 
Oregon has initiated a pioneering program providing air conditioners, air purifiers and power banks to select Medicaid recipients to tackle the challenges posed by climate change, such as extreme heat and poor air quality. This initiative, the first of its kind nationwide, expands Medicaid's scope beyond medical care to include social services as a way to address the disproportionate impact of climate change on low-income and minority communities.
Project Roomkey Evaluation Final Report 
Project Roomkey (PRK) is a program established by the state of California in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provided temporary housing in hotels, motels or trailers to support individuals experiencing homelessness to prevent overcrowding in shelters and maintain social distancing. This evaluation highlights PRK's successes and challenges with key data takeaways from several counties, indicating that longer stays in PRK reduced the likelihood of returning to homelessness and increased the likelihood of transitioning to permanent housing. 
How Collecting and Reporting More Detailed Data Can Advance Health Equity for Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Asian American Communities 
During Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the CDC's Office of Health Equity recognized the diverse contributions and health needs of these communities. Historically, combining data has made it difficult to highlight disparities in minority communities, leading to ineffective health care solutions. As a result, the CDC is emphasizing the necessity of detailed data collection to accurately reflect the experiences and health outcomes of various subpopulations within these communities. By disaggregating COVID-19 data in Hawaii, many disparities among Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Asian persons were revealed, allowing the data to shape responses that better fit each community. Continuing post-pandemic, the focus remains on health equity, involving communities in data collection and adopting culturally sensitive methodologies to work towards accurate representation and targeted interventions for diverse health challenges. 
Registration for Black Maternal Health Conference Now Open
Registration for the 2024 Black Maternal Health Conference and Training Institute (BMHC24) is now available. The conference, which takes place September 12-14, 2024, serves as the official global assembly for Black Maternal health, equity, scholarship, innovation, policy and advocacy work, projects, practice, and initiatives founded by Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Inc. (BMMA). BMHC24 centers Black people, clinicians, professionals, practitioners, and advocates and welcomes ALL maternal, perinatal and reproductive health equity stakeholders who are seeking to develop professionally, learn and network. Click here to register and learn more. 

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. 

Biden-Harris Administration Finalizes Policies to Increase Access to Health Coverage for DACA Recipients
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), recently finalized a rule that will expand access to health care for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. The rule ensures DACA recipients will no longer be excluded from eligibility to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan through the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace, or for coverage through a Basic Health Program. CMS estimates that this rule could lead to 100,000 previously uninsured DACA recipients enrolling in health coverage. Additionally, DACA recipients who qualify to enroll in a Marketplace plan may also qualify for advance payments of the premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions to reduce the cost of their Marketplace coverage, depending on their income. The final rule will be effective on November 1, 2024.

HUD Announces Nearly $90 Million to Make Low-income Families’ Homes Safer and Healthier
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced nearly $90 million in available funding to reduce residential health hazards for low-income families, including lead-based paint hazards, carbon monoxide, mold, radon, fire safety, and asbestos. This announcement builds on President Biden’s Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan, which seeks to address decades of inequitable infrastructure development and underinvestment. The Housing-related Hazards Capital Fund (HRHCF) & Lead-based Paint Capital Fund Program (LBPCF) will use this funding to provide grants to Public Housing Authorities and Indian Housing Authorities to evaluate and reduce residential health hazards in public housing. These programs are also part of the Justice40 Initiative, which sets a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, and other investments are directed to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

H.Res.1180 - Recognizing the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in medical education.
This resolution, introduced by Representative Joyce Beatty [D-OH], would acknowledge how cultural differences between patients and providers, as well as a lack of cultural competency in medical education, negatively impact patient-provider interactions, patient trust and security, open communication, and quality of care. It notes the strong body of evidence that a diverse medical student body improves the educational, clinical and research environments, and that diversity increases access to care for communities that are medically underserved. The resolution would affirm the importance of having a health care workforce which represents the country’s diverse patient populations to provide the best possible care and recognizes the importance of efforts to foster diversity, equity and inclusion in medical education to promote health equity in the U.S. The resolution was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

S.4246 - Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women’s Health Act
This bill was introduced by Senator Patty Murray [D-WA] to strengthen and coordinate the federal government’s existing programs related to menopause and mid-life women’s health. The bill would provide funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to award grants to support biomedical, public health, clinical and translational research and innovation related to menopause and midlife women’s health. It would strengthen coordination within the NIH and across the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand federal research into menopause and midlife women’s health and prevent adverse health outcomes among women experiencing menopause and postmenopausal syndrome. The bill would direct HHS to expand public health research, health care quality research, data collection and reporting, and occupational health research related to menopause and midlife women’s health. HHS would also be directed to develop recommendations and best practices for reducing disparities in the management of menopausal symptoms and improving access to perimenopause and menopause health care services. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

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