SDH Workgroup Highlights DOH Pilot Programs, Screening and Referral Process

February 21, 2022

GNYHA’s Social Determinants of Health (SDH) Workgroup convened last week for an update on New York State Department of Health (DOH) efforts and to review the screening and referral landscape for hospitals.

Emily Engel, Acting Director of DOH’s Bureau of Social Care and Community Supports, discussed SDH-related updates to DOH’s Value-Based Payment Roadmap and SDH screening requirements for Medicaid health homes. Ms. Engel also detailed three SDH pilot programs authorized by New York’s fiscal year 2020-21 budget. The programs center on medically tailoring meals to meet the nutrition and dietary requirements of patients with specific needs, providing medical respite for individuals without stable housing who are ready to be discharged from inpatient care, and health care screenings and engagement outside medical facilities for people experiencing homelessness.

Workgroup participants discussed ongoing SDH screening and referral activities and ways they are using electronic medical records and other technologies to support SDH efforts. Future Workgroup meetings will focus on SDH data collection, diagnosis codes (also known as “z codes”), and data standards to support health information exchange.

GNYHA’s SDH Workgroup provides member hospitals with a forum to discuss strategies and approaches to address patients’ social needs. GNYHA is engaged in various efforts to help members implement SDH interventions and related partnerships with community-based organizations, including operating the Health Information Tool for Empowerment (HITE), a publicly available online directory of health and social service organizations in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County. GNYHA will continue to support member hospitals in their SDH initiatives and help them follow related State and Federal policy updates.