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How Socioeconomic Status Affects Health

5 min read

How Socioeconomic Status Affects Health – The COVID-19 pandemic and other recent deaths of Black people at the hands of police, along with the killing of George Floyd, have exposed the stark structural and systemic racial disparities and their impact on the health and well-being of individuals and communities. While these events have brought health and health disparities to media and public attention, they are nothing new. These long-term and persistent health disparities are symptomatic of broader social and economic challenges, rooted in structural and systemic barriers across sectors—housing, education, employment, and the justice system—as well as underlying racism and discrimination. In the midst of these difficult times for our nation, increased recognition and understanding of differences can act as a catalyst for the challenging work required to address them.

Despite being recognized and documented for many years, inequalities in health and health care have persisted and in some cases widened over time. Our analysis found that blacks and American Indians or Alaska Natives (AIANs) fared worse than whites on most measures of health status examined, including physical and mental health status; birth risks; infant mortality rates; HIV and AIDS diagnosis and mortality rates; and prevalence and mortality rates due to certain chronic conditions (Figure 1). For example, the infant mortality rate for blacks and AIAN people is twice the rate for whites. Black adolescents and adults have eight times the rate of HIV diagnosis and nearly ten times the rate of AIDS diagnosis compared to their white counterparts; HIV and AIDS diagnosis rates among Hispanic adolescents and adults are three times the rate among whites.

How Socioeconomic Status Affects Health

The disparate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color reflect and compound these broader underlying racial/ethnic disparities in health. State-by-state data shows that in most reporting states, blacks have a higher rate of deaths and cases related to COVID-19 compared to their population share. Similarly, Hispanics have a higher share of confirmed cases compared to their share of the population in most reporting states, and in some states there are significant disparate effects for American Indians or Alaska Natives, Asians, and Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders. The resulting economic crisis had a disparate impact on people of color.

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Health disparities, including disparities related to COVID-19, are symptomatic of broader underlying social and economic inequalities that reflect structural and systemic barriers and biases across sectors. Although health care is essential to health, it is a relatively weak determinant of health. Research shows that the social determinants of health – the conditions in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age – are the primary drivers of health. They include factors such as socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood and physical environment, employment and social support networks, as well as access to health care (Figure 2). For example, children born to parents who did not complete high school are more likely to live in environments that present barriers to health, such as lack of security, open litter, and poor housing. They are less likely to have access to sidewalks, parks or playgrounds, recreation centers, or libraries. Furthermore, evidence shows that stress negatively affects health throughout the lifespan and that environmental factors can affect multiple generations.

A greater focus on and understanding of differences can act as a catalyst for the challenging work required to resolve them. Actions can be taken within the health care system to help address health disparities. For example, measures to expand health coverage, such as the passage of Medicaid expansion for low-income adults in the 14 states that have not yet expanded; increasing access to health care providers; increasing access to linguistically and culturally appropriate care; And diversifying the health workforce can help reduce health disparities. However, efforts to address health disparities require cross-sectoral approaches that go beyond health care to influence the broader social and economic factors that promote health. For example, measures to increase access to healthy food options and improve food safety; improve accessibility and housing quality; increase educational opportunities; improve the built environment and provide more green spaces and opportunities for recreation; And increasing economic security and economic opportunity positively affects health and reduces health disparities. Apart from these factors, any effort will be woefully incomplete if it does not recognize and address racism and discrimination and the long histories of stress and trauma that affect the health of individuals and communities and the way they shape our systems and policies. Such efforts are challenging and complex and require strong leadership, community engagement, resources and cross-sector collaboration to make progress. As a cornerstone of the community, hospitals recognize that to improve health equity, we must address the social factors that affect patient and community health. Recent events – COVID-19 and social unrest around racism and equality – add a sense of urgency to this essential work. Addressing the social determinants of health is an important strategy for improving health equity and value.

Social Factors Influencing Health is designed to guide hospital strategies to address the social needs of patients, the social determinants of health in their communities, and the systemic causes that contribute to health disparities so that the field can have meaningful conversations about these issues.

Explore a growing repository of resources to support hospitals and their community stakeholders as they take action to address social factors affecting health.

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Meeting the social needs of patients is a joint effort that requires the involvement of various professions spanning the health care and community spectrum. Learn how Regional One Health and New York Presbyterian Hospital have improved health outcomes by using the specialized skills of care team members to identify and respond to the social needs of their patients.

Future guidance examines the impact of housing instability on individual health and outlines opportunities and ways for hospitals to reduce housing instability in their communities. This toolkit shares strategic considerations on how to adapt a housing strategy to meet community needs and examples of how hospitals are addressing housing instability during COVID-19.

Screening for Social Needs: Guiding Care Teams to Engage Patients is a tool to help hospitals and health systems facilitate sensitive conversations with patients about their nonmedical needs that may impede good health. This is the latest effort by the Value Initiative to encourage fieldwork to increase value by reducing costs and improving outcomes.

Several studies have shown a relationship between social determinants of health and important health outcomes. He worked to promote widespread use of ICD-10-CM codes that would allow providers to collect data on social determinants of health.

Social Determinants Of Health At Cdc

Cameron Memorial Community Hospital, an independent critical access hospital in Northeast Indiana, discusses how it has embraced the use of ICD-10-CM Z codes to identify and address patients’ social needs as part of the hospital’s health equity strategy.

The Value Initiative summarizes a conversation between two experts, Amol Navathe, MD, assistant professor of medical ethics and health policy, Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and Mai Pham, MD, president and CEO, Institute for Exceptional Care, on value-for-opportunities and improving health equity. Challenges in implementing a based payment model.

Social determinants of health – the places we live, work and play – have a huge impact on one’s health and can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, ethnicity. Help your organization and community understand how social determinants affect your patients and neighbors, what hospitals are doing to address this important aspect of health, and what resources can help you address related challenges, including food insecurity and lack of transportation.

Produces a series of guidelines on how hospitals can respond to various social determinants of health. Below are the topics covered so far:

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To help physicians address social determinants, the Physician Alliance has created a virtual web-based expedition to train and equip staff with instructional measures and supporting resources. Modules include an overview of social determinants, an introduction to upstream quality improvement, and transportation with a focus on addressing food and housing insecurity.

Learn more about Social Determinants: Leveraging Community and Innovation to Improve Health and download the executive summary or box. The public health and economic consequences of the pandemic continue to affect the well-being of many people living in the United States. During the pandemic, millions of people lost their jobs or income and faced difficulties paying for expenses, including basic needs such as food and shelter. These social and economic challenges affect people’s health and well-being. Federal legislation has provided billions of dollars to address the public health crisis caused by the pandemic and provide financial support to many low-income people who are barely making ends meet. This summary provides an overview of adults on a range of measures of social determinants of health from March 2 through March 14, 2022, based on data from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, which is designed to quickly collect data on how people are living.

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