Our Endorsement of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act (H.R. 2503/S. 3039)

Our Endorsement

Visible Network Labs is proud to announce its support and endorsement of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act (H.R. 2503/S. 3039) This Act, which was re-introduced in 2021 by Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, will make $25 million available to local, state, and tribal governments looking to address issues related to the social determinants of health in their communities. 

It is said that only 10-20% of one’s health is directly influenced by the time spent in front of a medical professional, as expert advice and preventative or reactive treatments can only accomplish so much. Once the person receiving care steps back out in to their everyday life, they are immediately subjected to environmental factors (like the air quality in their neighborhood or access to green spaces), health-related behaviors of themselves and those around them, and availability of necessities and resources like access to nourishing food, reliable housing, and safe working conditions. These are considered just some of a person’s social determinants of health (SDOH). Positive or negative relationships with these factors are responsible for the large majority of many people’s overall health. 

Visible Network Labs supports and endorses the Social Determinants Accelerator Act because it aligns with our vision and advances our mission of strengthening connections to positively influence health and well-being. The work we perform as network scientists in support of our clients and partners currently engaged in the crucial, day-to-day work to better serve vulnerable populations also helps inform us of a need to stand behind legislation such as this Act. Our clients and partners understand, and underscore the importance of an individual possessing a strong personal network, but they also recognize the value of a robust and streamlined network of governmental agencies, local providers, and resource referrals that can communicate and coordinate care for that individual.

Many providers have cited constraints in “talking to one another” as an obstacle to providing empowering care in regards to SDOH issues. For example, an individual receiving care may have multiple appointments across separate care sectors, and may be receiving aid from multiple sources, both private and public. For the individual’s primary care provider, it can be difficult to coordinate care and resources to best serve someone with SDOH needs. 

Proponents of the Act seek to begin to identify and remove some of the obstacles primary care providers might face. As said in Congresswoman Bustos’ press release regarding the bill, “It is no one’s job in the federal government to help states and localities make sense of confusing and conflicting rules issued by separate agencies and programs.” 

Our PARTNERme tool makes personal networks and connections visible, and thus actionable. It allows for a person-centered view of care, and helps the individual receiving care bring the assets they already have to the table,so providers can discover where support should be supplemented. It is our hope that this Act will work to bring connections between pivotal agencies and programs to light, and shorten the time and effort needed to bring care to those who need it most.

Some key points of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act (H.R. 2503/S. 3039):

  • Establish the Social Determinants Accelerator Interagency Council, which would consist of federal and nonfederal members;
  • Enable collaboration between the Council and the Department of Health and Human Services to award up to 25 grants to local, territorial, tribal, and state agencies or certain nongovernmental organizations in the advancement of social determinant accelerator plans. The plans must detail and address at least one health and social outcome for a specific target population;
  • Generate much-needed evidence-based research on non-medical preventative measures that may result in advancing positive health and social outcomes, in hopes of reducing medical costs for those who most need it. Any recipient of a grant from the Council will implement stringent evaluation designs and data-linkage strategies.

It is our hope that the Act will be signed into law, and will encourage legislators, healthcare providers, and others involved in public health to go further in helping bring awareness to this space. We appreciate Aligning for Health in raising up this important legislation, and for enabling Visible Network Labs to lend its endorsement. We also thank Congresswoman Bustos for re-introducing the Act and all representatives who have lent their bipartisan support. 

Learn more about our endorsement of the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, and how our team and tools support important work happening in the SDOH space by reaching out to us at hello@visiblenetworklabs.com. You can also connect with us on Twitter at @VNetworkLabs.

Be sure to stay tuned to our Visible Us Blog for more product updates and VNL Team content!

About the Author: Will Jacobson

Will Jacobson is the Business Development Representative on VNL’s Marketing and Communications Team. Originally from New York City, Will loves living in Colorado and all the outdoor life it has to offer. He’s also a pretty big foodie!

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