Understanding the health-related social needs of patients could help guide state Medicaid and other public agencies in supporting interventions to improve health outcomes for individuals with complex health and social needs. Scant best practice information is available, however, to inform state efforts for capturing and using social determinants of health (SDOH) data.

This webinar, made by possible by The Commonwealth Fund, explored emerging state-level approaches to measuring SDOH among beneficiaries of publicly financed care. It addressed: (1) the rationale for collecting SDOH data; (2) various approaches for using SDOH information; and (3) challenges and key considerations for states interested in advancing SDOH measurement efforts. The webinar featured promising initiatives in two states — Massachusetts and Oregon — and highlighted takeaways from a recently published CHCS environmental scan that examines existing SDOH data collection efforts by Medicaid and other public agencies.


I. Welcome and Opening Remarks

Speakers: Tricia McGinnis, MPP, MPH, Vice President, CHCS; Pamela Riley, MD, MPH, Assistant Vice President, The Commonwealth Fund

II. Overview of State SDOH Measurement Initiatives

Speaker: Anna Spencer, MPH, Senior Program Officer, CHCS

Ms. Spencer reviewed findings from the CHCS scan of state efforts to collect and use patient and population-level SDOH information from Medicaid beneficiaries.

III. SDOH Measures in Coordinated Care Organizations: Lessons from Oregon

Speaker: Sarah Bartelmann, Metrics Manager, Oregon Health Authority

Ms. Bartelmann described Oregon’s efforts to collect information on social and behavioral determinants of health for Medicaid beneficiaries, as well as the state’s approach to developing a new food security measure for use by Coordinated Care Organizations.

IV. Using SDOH Data in Rate-Setting: The MassHealth Risk Adjustment Model

Speaker: Arlene Ash, PhD, Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Dr. Ash provided an overview of MassHealth’s new Risk Adjustment Model for Delivery Reform, which includes several SDOH variables and will be used to set reimbursement rates for accountable care and managed care organizations.