AMA Urges Multifaceted Approach to Address Social Determinants of Health
Published: Friday, November 20, 2020 9:07 am
At the Special Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates, physicians adopted policies today to address social determinants of health as part of health insurance coverage. The disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the need to address nonmedical, yet critical, health needs and the underlying determinants of health -- economic stability, neighborhoods, transportation, education and life opportunities, access to food, quality and safe housing, community/social support, and access to health care.
The new policies build on the AMA's pursuit of greater health equity by identifying and eliminating inequities through advocacy, community leadership and education.
"Addressing social determinants of health requires an all-hands-on-deck approach that is not limited to stakeholders within the health care system. By addressing social determinants of health in their benefit designs and coverage, health plans can be part of the effort to improve patient health outcomes," said David H. Aizuss, M.D., a member of the AMA Board of Trustees.
Some states have creatively used Medicaid funds, and Medicare Advantage plans now have greater flexibility to cover nonclinical services to address beneficiary needs in housing, food and transportation.
The House of Delegates adopted the following policies: