Population Health Alliance Government Affairs Committee
The Population Health Alliance Government Affairs Committee is a member’s only forum that meets monthly to discuss key priority policy and advocacy issues. As part of the agenda, Leavitt Partners provides an up to the minute policy briefing to include the status of proposed legislation, interpretation and implementation of existing law and WH Administration appointees and policy views.
There is much work in between meetings by committee taskforces. As new matters are brought before the PHA GA Committee, the following policy statement and principles are applied:
PHA GA Principles
The Population Health Alliance educates key stakeholders and policy makers, and advocates for and contributes to shaping policies that prioritize the health and wellbeing of populations through:
- Reducing barriers to high-value workplace health and wellness benefits and programs for employees;
- Ensuring that all individuals have stable access to affordable choices in selecting their health benefits;
- Encouraging community-based efforts and support of programs that address medical and social determinants to promote health and wellbeing in vulnerable populations;
- Supporting individuals’ active engagement with their care teams and limiting non-care related burdens and distractions for both patients and providers;
- Emphasizing research and quality in the delivery of health and wellness benefits and programs to individuals;
- Continuously introducing innovative solutions to create positive experiences and outcomes for all individuals.
These principles are uniformly applied to well represent our multi-stakeholder association membership in setting priorities, establishing educational programming, and commenting on proposed rules making and other public policy initiatives.
Current Federal Policies and Initiatives with PHA Support (2021)
1. Social Determinants of Health Accelerator Act H.R. 2503 introduced by Bustos (D-IL), Cole (R-OK), McGovern (D-MA) and Mullin (R-OK)
- The Secretary of Health and Human Services would convene the Social Determinants Accelerator Interagency Council. The Council would include program experts from across the federal government, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Labor and the United States Department of Agriculture, as well as state and local government officials, the private sector and community-based organizations.
- Grant funding would be made available to state, local and Tribal governments to develop Social Determinants Accelerator Plans. Plans would: o Target a group of high-need Medicaid patients, like homeless individuals, older workers with arthritis, nursing home patients, or mothers diagnosed with postpartum depression; o Identify the key outcomes to be achieved through improved coordination of health and non-health services and use of evidence-based interventions; and o Include a plan for linking data across programs measuring the impact of the new approach on the health of participants and the return-on-investment for taxpayers.
- The Council would provide technical assistance to grantees to help them implement their plans by identifying federal authorities, opportunities and strategies for braiding and blending funds and designing rigorous evaluations. To ensure all jurisdictions can benefit, the Council will broadly disseminate best practices and opportunities for cross-program coordination.
2. The Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2021 (S. 104/H.R. 379) Sen. Smith (DMN) Rep. Barragan (D-CA)
Bill creates a program for CDC to:
- Improve health outcomes and reduce health inequities by coordinating CDC SDOH activities; and
- Improve capacity of public health agencies and community organizations to address SDOHs:
- Coordinate across CDC to ensure programs consider and incorporate SDOH in grants and activities.
- Award grants to state, local, territorial, and Tribal health agencies and organizations to address SDOHs in target communities.
- Award grants to nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education to conduct research on SDOH best practices; provide technical assistance, training and evaluation assistance to target community grantees; and disseminate best practices.
- Coordinate, support, and align SDOH activities at CDC with other federal agencies, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and others.
- Collect and analyze data related to SDOH activities. Recommend we consider, depending on if PHA has a position on bi-partisan bills. These bills are not bi-partisan.
3. LINC to Social Needs Act (S. 509) introduced by Senators Sullivan (R. AK) and Murphy (D-CT)
While there are regional pockets of community integrated network innovation, social service systems and the health care system are not generally connected in a sustainable, standardized way, which limits data sharing, shared accountability, and service coordination. These limitations make it difficult for states to promote coordinated service delivery and manage public health emergencies. The LINC to Address Social Needs Act (S. 509) would establish statewide or regional partnerships to better coordinate health care and social services. States, through public-private partnerships, will leverage local expertise and technology to overcome longstanding challenges in helping to connect people to food, housing, child development, job training, and transportation supports and services. Recommend PHA endorse this bipartisan bill.
4. Funding support letters for the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) at the CDC.
Two separate letters have gone to the Appropriations Committee in support of tripling of the NCCDPHP budget; the first letter was from the vast array of patient groups led by the American Heart Association, and the second was from the public health community led by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors. While these letters have gone without PHA endorsement, this is an effort that will be ongoing and we should find ways to align and support in the future. Support $3.8 billion, a tripling of funding, for CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. CDC funds proven strategies that address the nation’s leading causes of death and disability—diabetes, cancer, arthritis, heart disease, and obesity. Increased funding is imperative to address chronic conditions that heighten risks for COVID-related hospitalizations and fatalities and to stem the growing pandemic of sedentary behavior and poor nutrition. 90% of the nation’s health care expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions, yet the Center’s funding has remained flat for over a decade. CDC’s “Chronic Center” provides funding to address health disparities and social determinants of health and advances strategies to expand access to health care coverage and payment for these programs. These strategies recognize that health outcomes are influenced by factors outside the clinical setting and include lifestyle health, social and economic factors, and the physical environments where people live. Many of these chronic conditions are more common, diagnosed later, and result in worse outcomes for marginalized populations, including people of color, people living with disabilities and mental and substance abuse disorders, older adults, LGBTQ populations and people with low incomes and education.
Vice President, Health Partnerships and Policy at YMCA of the USA
Chair, PHA Government Affairs