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Association Responds to Medicare RFI on Social Risk Factors

Ina  Nov. 16 letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), America’s Essential Hospitals highlighted the unique role essential hospitals play in treating individuals with social risk factors.

Comments were submitted in response to a request for information (RFI) issued by ASPE following its 2016 report to Congress that connected social risk factors and health care outcomes. ASPE was directed to complete the report by the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act.

The association’s comments provide examples of essential hospitals’ mission to serve all people, including efforts to:

  • identify patients with social risk factors using appropriate screening tools and language preferences;
  • meet the needs of beneficiaries with social risk factors through programs targeting food insecurity, housing instability, transportation issues, and other social determinants of health; and
  • capture social risk factors using electronic health records (EHRs).

In addition, the comments address the challenges and barriers essential hospitals face in addressing social risk factors and the policy levers HHS might use to support essential hospitals in their mission to provide quality care for all.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.

About the Author

Rachel Schwartz is a former policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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