Boston Area Hospital Collaboration on the Social Determinants of Health

Status: Current
Year: 2017
Location: Boston
Client: Health Care (including hospitals and health systems)
Services Provided: Assessment and Planning, Policy & Health Systems Improvement, Training and Technical Assistance, Research & Evaluation
Technical Expertise: Public Health-Health Care Integration

To implement the MassHealth payment reform initiative in 2018, ACOs will have to screen patients for needs related to social determinants of health (SDOH). This includes understanding housing, employment, and food insecurity needs. As hospitals consider how to develop and implement social needs screening, a group of Boston health care institutions have come together to discuss collecting this information consistently across institutions and implementing best practices for referral to community services. This Collaboration engaged HRiA in 2017 to facilitate a process to: (1) identify common SDOH screening questions that will allow them to meet MassHealth requirements and (2) explore pooling data for collaborative projects, such as a joint community health needs assessment (CHNA). HRiA is examining the SDOH measures the institutions already collect; facilitating a consensus-building process for data collection on similar SDOH domains; conducting key informant interviews (KIIs); and examining workflow and referral pathways for data capture and referral to social services. Next steps will include assessing options and best practices for social needs screening workflows, building consensus on common social needs screening questions, and ensuring that the Collaboration’s plans align with MassHealth ACO requirements.