Growing national attention on social determinants of health (the impact that social factors have on a person’s health and well-being) indicates that socio-economic status, behaviors, and physical environment contribute more to health outcomes than access to health care. AHCCCS has addressed these complex issues through efforts to provide housing, employment, criminal justice, non-emergency transportation and home and community-based services interventions for members, using Medicaid-covered services while also relying on a broad range of funding sources for services and supports not available under the Arizona Medicaid program.
We know, too, that more can be done. As we continue to explore opportunities that support whole person health care, we are engaging community stakeholders who have expressed interest in augmenting our ability to address:
In an effort to support providers, health plans, community-based organizations, and community stakeholders who collaborate to address the social service needs of AHCCCS members, we are partnering with Health Current, Arizona’s Health Information Exchange (HIE), to explore technology that will facilitate screening for social risk factors and seamlessly refer members to community resources. In 2020, AHCCCS anticipates that Health Current will undertake the evaluation of available solutions seeking a single, statewide, electronic, closed-loop referral platform for social service fulfillment. Such technology will allow health care providers to screen patients for social risk factors using existing systems (as long as they capture a standard set of minimum elements), submit electronic referrals to local agencies, and see when a member’s social service needs have been successfully fulfilled.
Over the next several months, AHCCCS will collaborate with its contracted managed care organizations, community-based organizations, tribal partners, providers, and other external stakeholders to craft its Whole Person Care Initiative. Information will be posted on the AHCCCS website where users can subscribe to email updates and submit ideas and feedback.
AHCCCS welcomes all partners to share in this effort to move from “health care” to Whole Person Care and strive to improve the overall health of the 1.9 million Arizonans whom AHCCCS serves.