This weekly bulletin is provided by The Root Cause Coalition to provide news and information on the social determinants of health, as well as a snapshot of the Coalition’s activities.
The Root Cause Coalition provides this weekly update to draw attention to our members’ social determinants of health (SDoH) activities, SDoH in the news and the ever-growing challenges faced by our most vulnerable communities. We encourage you to share SDoH-focused research, events and other resources with us so that we can promote it through our TRCC network. Our aim is to foster an exchange of information that is helpful to others so that those most in need - on whose behalf we work each day - can continue to receive information, access and services to improve health and quality of life. If you have information to share, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRCC News and Upcoming Events
Join us on Wednesday, November 17th at 2 pm ET to hear the findings of TRCC’s newest consumer insights report, “Climate, Health and Well-Being: Knowledge, Attitudes and Perceptions.” Register here for the webinar.
Applications for Health Justice Award Now Open TRCC’s Health Justice Award recognizes organizations that have successfully implemented a program or intervention to reduce health disparities within the past three years. The inaugural winner of the Award will receive $25,000 and will be formally honored at next year’s National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health. To learn more and apply, please click here.
Social Determinants in the News
This article highlights the work of the Delta Fresh Food Initiative, a diverse coalition of community stakeholders committed to establishing sustainable, equitable community food systems in the Mississippi Delta. The author interviews the co-founder of Delta Fresh to learn more about the origin of the group, the importance of involving young people in food advocacy and the link between the food justice and civil rights movements.
The Bipartisan Policy Center recently published an overview of ways to streamline and simplify states’ home and community-based services (HCBS). This includes a range of medical and non-medical services designed to support individuals in the community, including home health care, private nursing and case management services. The authors review recent action on this issue and provide policy recommendations that would work to expand access, improve beneficiary experience and ensure better equity in the provision of services across states and populations.
This article provides highlights from a recent Senate Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research hearing on the state of nutrition, hunger and food insecurity in the U.S. Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the Dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University, provided testimony including thoughts on medically tailored meals in Medicare and Medicaid, coverage expansion of produce prescriptions for people with diet-sensitive diseases and the establishment of better Medicare reimbursement for dietitians.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health recently announced that more than 200 hospitals in all 50 states are now participating in the Perinatal Improvement Collaborative. The collaborative will evaluate how pregnancy affects overall population health by linking inpatient data of newborns to their mothers. Each participating hospital will analyze more than 150 measures to better understand clinical and non-clinical factors that impact infant and maternal health outcomes and reduce health disparities. This collaborative was developed as a part of the HHS Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Data and Analysis Initiative which works to enhance maternal health data and strengthen evidence-based practices.
SDoH Advocacy Update
President Biden is expected to host a bill signing ceremony today, November 15th to cement the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This bipartisan package has been negotiated in Congress since June 2021 and will provide funding to modernize roads, bridges and transit systems including improved accessibility of public transportation. It will also expand the use of electric cars and buses, help communities mitigate climate change and address pollution through environmental remediation. Additionally, the bill will improve drinking water infrastructure and invest in high-speed internet to ensure that every household can access reliable broadband service. To view a comprehensive overview of the bipartisan infrastructure deal, please click here.
The House of Representatives is back in session this week after it passed a key procedural vote on Friday, November 5th to line up passage of the Build Back Better Act (BBB). House Leadership had planned for this reconciliation package to be passed alongside the bipartisan infrastructure bill, but a delay with Congressional Budget Office scoring (CBO) further delayed full consideration until this week. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer believes that the package will be passed in the House before Thanksgiving that could push final action into December (the Senate is likely to change the legislation, meaning the House would have to vote again). The most recent version of the package has a price tag of $1.75 trillion and includes a wide range of significant investments related to SDoH, including a year-long extension of both the expansion of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. It would also lower premiums for those enrolled in Affordable Care Act Marketplace plans, close the Medicaid coverage gap and expand Medicare coverage to include hearing benefits. Additionally, it would include investments to provide universal preschool, ensure child care access and equity, improve affordable housing options and address maternal health issues. An agreement on prescription drug pricing reform finally emerged last week, in which Medicare Part D would be able to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies for the first time in its history. Four weeks of paid family and medical leave is also once again included in the package.
The College Student Hunger Act (H.R. 3809) would address food insecurity on college campuses by increasing access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for more low-income college students. The bill would expand SNAP application eligibility to college students who qualify for Pell Grants and would lower work requirements for college students to 10 hours per week. Under the legislation, the Department of Education (ED) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) would be required to notify eligible students about SNAP and provide resources to facilitate enrollment. The USDA would also develop a report with strategies to mitigate existing or potential barriers to students’ access to benefits. Finally, the bill would authorize demonstration pilot projects to test new SNAP delivery methods specifically tailored for college campuses. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations.
This bill was introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar [D-MN] to advance environmental justice by requiring federal agencies to develop Climate Action Plans. These plans would address the disproportionate economic and health impacts of climate change on disadvantaged communities with direct input from the affected populations. It would also establish an Interagency Council on Federal Agency Climate Planning, Resilience, and Enhanced Preparedness to develop, recommend and coordinate efforts to combat the climate crisis and protect public health. Additionally, the bill would codify the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy to coordinate domestic climate policymaking. The bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight
Feeding America has launched a series of public service announcements (PSAs) designed to raise awareness about nutrition and hunger in the United States. The new PSAs feature handwritten letters inspired by real experiences of people served by the Feeding America network to illustrate the tough decisions that food insecure people must make. The letters will also encourage the public to take action that support those facing food insecurity.