The social determinants of health including socio-economic status, housing, community stressors, behaviors, and physical environment contribute more to health outcomes than access to health care. 

Last week, AHCCCS announced that they’re going to be exploring more opportunities to support whole person health care by engaging stakeholders who have expressed interest in augmenting our ability to address:

  • Transitional housing, particularly for individuals leaving a correctional facility; those being discharged from a behavioral health inpatient stay; and individuals experiencing chronic homelessness;

  • Non-medical transportation with a focus on access to healthy food and employment navigation services; and

  • Social isolation that can impact individuals who receive Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) services in their own homes including, but not limited to, peer support programs.

AHCCCS says they’ll be partnering with Health Current (Arizona’s Health Information Exchange) to explore technology to facilitate screening for social risk factors and referring their members to community resources.

In 2020, AHCCCS anticipates that Health Current will evaluate solutions seeking a single, statewide, electronic, closed-loop referral platform. Their goal is to find a technology allowing health care providers to screen patients for social risk factors using existing systems, submit electronic referrals to local agencies, and measure social service outcomes.

Over the next few months, AHCCCS will be collaborating with their contracted MCOs and other external stakeholders to craft this Whole Person Care Initiative.

Information will be posted on the AHCCCS website where users can subscribe to email updates and submit ideas and feedback.

A welcome public health intervention indeed.