Healthcare Industry

November News Roundup: An Innovative Hospital Invests in Real Estate to Help Homeless; and Are We Going to See New ICD-10 Codes for Social Determinants?

Stay ahead of healthcare industry news for FQHC and Health Center leaders with our monthly roundups. CareMessage curates the most important developments in healthcare technology, underserved patient care, value-based care, social determinants of health, and more to keep you informed in your role as a healthcare leader.


FQHCs Suggested as Alternative to Medicaid Expansion in Rural Areas

As rural hospital closures plague the country, some representatives are posing new solutions. State Rep. Tim Wadsworth (R-Arley) has suggested FQHCs as a superior alternative to Medicaid expansion. 

HHS to Award $107 Million in Funds

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the provision of a fund through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that would be granted to 1,273 health centers across the country. The awards will recognize high-achieving health centers and is intended to improve the quality and value of care that these centers provide.

Patient Communication

Framing Texting as Experimentation to Get Buy-in 

This article from the Harvard Business Review presents a situation where a clinic was considering expanding their communications to include texting. While the request to text patients was not well-received by clinic leadership, reframing the idea of “trying texting” on a limited population of exceptions changed the conversation. 

Meeting Breast Cancer Patients Where They Are

This look back at breast cancer month highlights some of the most important elements of patient communication for nurses. Listening, careful word choice, providing support, as well as avoiding assumptions are highlighted. 

Care Management Teams

ACO Sees Success Investing in Care Management Teams 

Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health announced combined savings for their three ACOs of $61 million under the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). Key to this level of savings was optimizing data and post-acute care use but also the application of care management teams, which CMS has previously identified as helpful for Next Generation ACOs. 

Serving the Underserved

Community Health Center Fund at Risk

The $4 billion Community Health Center Fund, established almost 10 years ago under the Affordable Care Act, is at risk of survival if Congress does not pass a permanent spending bill by November 21. The bill funds operations for nearly 1,400 community health centers, which work to keep around 28 million Americans healthy. 

Hospitals Step Into Real Estate to House Homeless

At Denver Health, homeless patients stay an average of 73 nights in hospital units, a total cost of almost $200K per patient. To combat this, Denver Health has partnered with Dever Housing Authority to renovate an old building into affordable senior housing that includes 15 apartments designated as transitional units for homeless patients

HEDIS Measures

Use of Professional Guidelines Like HEDIS Increasing

A survey of health plans conducted by OPEN MINDS found that the reported required use of professional guidelines increased to 59%, up from 41% in 2017. The biggest increase was in Medicare plans, jumping to 79% in 2019 from 11% in 2017. 

Social Determinants of Health

AMA Talks Improving Screening for Social Determinants of Health

This article from the American Medical Association covers the results of a cross-sectional survey of over 2,300 providers about the barriers they face in understanding social determinants of health and their impact on patient engagement with clinical care. It covers the meaning of social determinants of health, as well as the AMA’s new, forward-looking policy in addressing them. 

Help in Coding Social Determinants of Health Data

A collaboration between payers and providers including Humana, United, and the American Hospital Association is working to encourage the use of existing ICD-10 Z codes to address factors outside of disease or injury that influence health status. White existing Z codes are a start, they fall short of capturing the wide array of social factors that impact an individual’s health status.  

NQF Calls to Address Social Determinants Through Quality and Payment Innovation

The National Quality Forum (NQF) has released a national call to action to identify recommendations that are vital to address social determinants of health across the healthcare ecosystem. The initiative is supported by the Aetna Foundation and will focus on aligning policy, measurement, and payment across public and private stakeholders, as well as improving the collection, use, and sharing of determinant data. 

Two Grant Opportunities for Community-Based Health Programs

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation plans to invest $6 million in Purpose Built Communities, an organization dedicated to addressing intergenerational poverty. Poverty is a key social determinant of health and a limitation to individuals trying to improve their personal wellness. 

Integrating Social Care into Healthcare Delivery

A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, examines the potential for integrating services to address social needs, and five key activities in integrating social care into the delivery of healthcare, including awareness, adjustment, assistance, alignment, and advocacy. 

Want to build a deeper perspective on social determinants of health? Take a few minutes with our NYC panel discussion on the topic

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