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Medicare Explores Social Needs

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January 12, 2016

 

Can helping Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries with their health-related social needs also help improve the costs and outcomes of medical care?

 

That is the question behind “Accountable Health Communities,” a new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) demonstration project that will provide grants to “bridge organizations”—such as health systems, community groups, and academic institutions—to increase beneficiary awareness of and access to community services that help meet health-related social needs. Those needs include:

 

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Transportation
  • Interpersonal violence

 

Over a five-year period, CMS will give $8 million in grants for organizations to explore the overall impact of three levels of effort in helping beneficiaries:

 

  • Referring them to community resources;
  • Referring them, but also providing individual assistance in helping them obtain services; and
  • Referring and helping them obtain services, but also working to ensure that community services are available and accessible.

 

Click for CMS fact sheet.