Exponent Telegram: In West Virginia, a Clear Map of the Socio-Economics of Sickness

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By Leigh Nestor/Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG — With West Virginia’s incredibly high rates of diseases linked to lifestyle, some medical professionals consider socioeconomics as the real cause of the state’s failing health.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, West Virginia ranks high in general poor health, cardiovascular disease, cholesterol, stroke, hypertension, obesity, poor nutrition, high sodium intake and high sugar intake.

The counties with high rates of obesity are the same ones with high rates of sleeplessness, Program Director for United Hospital Center Dr. Eric Radcliffe said, noting it as a symptom of a root cause in lifestyle…

Read the full story at www.theet.com


Healthcare Dive: Could Payment Models Factor in Local Social Determinants of Health?

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By Les Masterson/Healthcare Dive

  • A new JAMA report found payment formulas that ignore “social risk can underpay for vulnerable populations, potentially exacerbating inequality.”
  • The study looked at Massachusetts’ Medicaid program MassHealth’s social determinants of health (SDH) payment model that supports care for vulnerable members and improves payment equity.
  • Massachusetts was the first state in the nation in October 2016 to create a payment model that adds SDH variables to medical diagnoses, age and sex.

The study looked at MassHealth’s payment model and whether a model that includes SDH can provide more equitable payments for the care of socially vulnerable people.

The payment model removes or significantly reduces underpayments for several subgroups in hopes of allowing clinicians to “better meet the needs of socially vulnerable patients,” according to the study.

The payment model “allocates payments within a fixed budget accounting for socioeconomic and psychosocial as well as medical risk.” As an example, the payment model may pay doctors more for patients living in distressed neighborhoods. That money can be used to support innovations that address “social complexity,” such as helping patients find housing, teaching better nutrition or creating IT infrastructure to link at-risk patients with doctors.

“Such programs could draw more people with complex problems — those who have the most to gain from coordinated care — into managed care,” wrote the study authors…

Read the full story at www.healthcaredive.com

Register-Herald: Mobile Response Showing Strong Results for Kids in Crisis

Photo by Rick Barbero/The Register-Herald

By Wendy Holdren/Beckley Register-Herald

To help keep kids safe and in their homes, FMRS Health Systems in Beckley is offering a new way to respond to emotional and behavioral crises — the Children’s Mobile Crisis Response.

“We help them de-escalate the crisis so the child can remain in their home and in their community,” said Tracy King, director of children’s services at FMRS. “We want to see a decrease in kids going into acute care, hospital care or out of state for residential treatment.”

The Children’s Mobile Crisis Response, a pilot project funded through a Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities grant, has been operational in Raleigh County for the past six months. King said of the roughly 80 responses, only two children have required acute care…

Read the full story at www.register-herald.com