Improving Social Determinants of Health: A New Factor in Healthcare

Do you wonder why your doctor asks you a lot of personal questions? Your doctor may be evaluating your “social determinants of health” (SDOH). According to the Centers for Disease Control, SDOHs include the following questions:

Are you safe in your home?

Is food readily available to you, and can you prepare your meals?

Is your home uncluttered and tidy?

Can you access your prescription drugs?

Many hospital readmissions occur when these factors cause problems. A new focus on SDOHs by Medicare and other health insurers not only helps ensure the health of the patient but also helps doctors address these risk factors. If you’re hospitalized, your prerelease evaluation should tackle these factors. Determining if you can obtain your medications, cook your meals, and clean your home are just a few considerations healthcare practitioners should discuss with you.

In 2021, 64 percent of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans will offer supplemental benefits to improve patient care and decrease hospital readmissions. While covered skilled nursing assistance provides wound and ostomy care, issues like a cluttered home environment or weakness from hunger can seriously impede healing. Adding benefits like home care, in which non-skilled providers offer in-home assistance with activities of daily living such as cleaning and prescription pickup, can greatly reduce healthcare costs.

Don’t be surprised if your doctor asks personal questions. Request in-home assistance if you need it. If your MA plan provides these benefits, it can help with healing and prevent a possible hospital readmission.

If you’re choosing an MA plan, contact us about these important benefits.