Fall 2016 E-Newsletter

It’s been a full year since The Root Cause Coalition was established, and in the last 12 months we’ve made incredible strides in advancing our mission to address the social determinants of health and more broadly engage the healthcare industry in helping individuals meet their most basic needs. Hunger, housing, transportation, isolation, education, and so many other basic issues have become the topic of discussion across our country as healthcare and human services leaders have become more acutely aware that when such needs aren’t met, it’s also difficult to meet basic health goals, or improve health outcomes overall.

Since our founding, the Coalition’s membership has grown from the two co-founding organizations, AARP Foundation and ProMedica, to nearly two dozen others who understand that by working collaboratively, and combining our individual voices we are stronger, more efficient and more effective. Indeed, the power of being unified as one can never be understated. But there’s another power of one that motivates us, and that’s every single individual whose life is made better because our advocacy, research or education helped shine a light on an issue that affects so many individuals, each with their specific story. Collectively, we may be working toward broad change and awareness; but we never lose sight that our broad actions impact others in their own unique way.

We are inspired daily by the individual stories of so many people whose lives can be forever altered by our actions, and equally so by our inaction. Therefore, we have chosen action and believe that, in partnership, we can change lives as well as attitudes and opinions. And, in so doing, we also know that individuals and communities across our nation will be better able to reach their full potential.

Thank you for your continued interest in our work and understanding that what we do now effects so many individuals for years to come.

In good health,

Barbara J. Petee
Executive Director
Spotlight on the First Annual National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health
There are clear associations between social determinants – like a lack of safe and affordable housing, food insecurity, quality education, transportation, economic opportunity, and isolation – and poor health status among children, adults, and seniors. The core goal of this first summit – and of The Root Cause Coalition more broadly – is to more fully engage the healthcare industry in the discussion of social determinants of health, and ultimately, in the development and implementation of data-driven, community-centered solutions to prevent long-term chronic health conditions in the populations that we serve.
Our robust two-day agenda will bring together representatives from healthcare, the faith community, researchers, clinicians, the non-profit sector, and government programs to share best practices, offer community connections and resources, and engage in the crucial discussion of addressing the social determinants of health.

Click here to register for the Summit!

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Research Highlights

Effects of Social Needs Screening and In-Person Service Navigation on Child Health
The first of its kind, this study published in a recent issue of JAMA Pediatrics examined addressing social determinants of health during pediatric primary and urgent health care visits to analyze families’ social needs and the effect of overall children’s health. Caregivers either received written information on relevant community services (active control) or received in-person help to access services with follow-up contact for further assistance if needed (navigation intervention). After a 4-month enrollment period, intervention significantly decreased families’ reports of social needs, and children’s overall health significantly improved, supporting the possible effects addressing social needs in pediatric health care settings.

Rethinking Thirty-Day Hospital Readmissions: Shorter Intervals Might Be Better Indicators Of Quality Of Care

Common practice for reporting and payment programs across the United States have embraced thirty-day readmissions as an indicator of between-hospital variation in the quality of care, despite the lack of evidence defining this standard. The authors of this study examined risk-standardized thirty-day risk of unplanned inpatient hospital readmission for patients sixty-five and older in Arizona, California, Florida, and New York. Results showed the readmission risk was highest within the first week after discharge, and the rapid decline of readmission following the seventh day post-discharge was explained by community- and household-level factors beyond hospitals’ control. Their recommendation of shorter intervals of seven or fewer days might improve the accuracy and equity of readmissions as a measure of hospital quality for public accountability, rather than a longer thirty-day interval.

Severity of Household Food Insecurity Is Positively Associated with Mental Disorders among Children and Adolescents in the United States

Household food insecurity and mental disorders are prevalent conditions among children and adolescents in the United States. Previous research has examined the association between the 2 conditions, however it is relatively unknown whether more severe food insecurity is differently associated with mental disorders in youth. These researchers investigated the association between severity of household food insecurity and mental disorders among children (aged 4–11 y) and adolescents (aged 12–17 y). The severity of household food insecurity was positively associated with mental disorders among both children and adolescents within the United States; therefore, these results suggested improving household food security status has the potential to reduce mental disorders among US youth.

Health Care in the 2016 Election — A View through Voters’ Polarized Lenses

This article examines the potential effect of the 2016 election on the future of health policy in the United States. It brings together results from 14 national public opinion polls from various sources and as recently as September 2016 to address broad questions regarding the mood of the country’s positions on health care issues as we approach the 2016 election.