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Screenings for social determinants of health have been implemented into Catalyst Health Network’s Cigna contract. Below is some information on the importance of these screenings, as well as resources for making them a part of your patients’ in-office and virtual visits.

What are Social Determinants of Health?  

A patient’s social determinants of health are the environmental conditions in which they are born, live, learn, work, play and even worship. These determinants work together to influence health outcomes, risks and overall quality of life.

As an overly simplified example: a single, white and gainfully employed male college graduate living in North Dallas will likely have an easier time scheduling, traveling to, paying for and adhering to healthcare than a Black mother of two who is only employed part-time and working on her associates degree. As such, learning a patients’ social determinants of health helps physicians better understand vitally important information about a patient’s life outside of their office, particularly how it could affect their treatment and future healthcare outcomes.

Social Determinants of Health Screenings 

Conducting Social Determinants of Health Screenings in primary care can help mend the disparities that exist in our broken healthcare system – an area where Catalyst is committed to being a part of the solution.

What You Can Do: In-Office & Telehealth Screenings

 These screenings should be conducted on the same date as the patient’s in-office or telehealth visit. There are many different screening tools available, but keep in mind that any screening tool you use should address the six following domains:

  1. Healthcare access: quality of care, healthcare coverage, cultural and linguistic competency

  2. Education: literacy, quality of education, access to early and higher education

  3. Economic factors: employment, income, debt, food scarcity/food quality

  4. Infrastructure: housing, public safety, crime/safety

  5. Community and social context: support systems, community engagement discrimination

  6. Food access: proximity to supermarkets, quality/cost of healthy food, public food programs

We recommend using either the AAFP or CHCS questionnaires or creating your own similar questionnaire to log in your patients’ EMRs. As a best practice, all providers should submit claim with ICD-10 codes Z13.9 or Z55-Z65 to show payers that the screening was completed. Download the ICD Codes Usage Handout below for your records.

What Catalyst Health Network is Doing

Additionally, our Care Team will now conduct Social Determinants of Health Screenings during outreach to patients enrolled in our Pharmacy or Care Management programs. Documentation will be provided back into your EMR for awareness.

Connect with your Performance Advocate to learn more about social determinants of health and how Catalyst is striving to address them.

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