Developing National Social Care Standards

A large and compelling body of evidence suggests that social circumstances—including income, education, food, housing, neighborhood conditions, and social connections—strongly influence health. Coupled with a public- and private-sector shift toward rewarding health outcomes over services delivered, this evidence based on the social determinants of health has led to discussion across the health care sector on the roles and responsibilities of health care delivery organizations, managed care organizations, and other health care stakeholders to identify and address adverse social conditions that directly influence patients’ health care access and health behaviors. In the 2019 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report and other recent publications, activities to identify and act on patient-level social circumstances collectively are described as “social needs care” or “social care.”

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