Professional Medical Association Policy Statements on Social Health Assessments and Interventions - NowPow

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October 22nd, 2018 | The Permanente Journal

Background: Evidence demonstrating the link between social and economic needs and health outcomes and a concurrent shift toward value-based payment models have incentivized health care delivery system leaders to explore social and economic risk-related screening and intervention programs. This study was designed to elucidate the ways in which professional medical associations (PMAs) encourage these activities in organizational policy statements and practice guidelines.
Methods: We extracted publicly available policy and position statements and clinical guidelines from 42 US PMAs that featured themes related to screening for or addressing patients’ social determinants or social needs in health care delivery settings.
Results: Among the 42 PMAs included in this study, 9 (21%) published 39 relevant statements. Fourteen of these statements referred to clinic-based social or economic health screening activities, 34 referred to clinical interventions to promote social or economic health, and 3 referred to strategies for financial support for these activities. Thirty-six of the 39 statements (92%) were published after 2008.
Discussion: PMAs are releasing public statements related to social needs screening and interventions in clinical settings with increasing frequency. Disciplines such as pediatrics, family medicine, and psychiatry are policy leaders in this area. Statements released by PMAs representing these disciplines include detailed information about social and economic needs screening and interventions that can be adopted by clinical care systems.
Conclusion: Findings in select medical disciplines indicate that social health assessments and interventions are gaining acceptance.

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