Social Determinants of Health Strategies During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Findings from a 2020 Survey of MCOs in Texas

The social determinants of health (SDOH) have risen to the forefront of health policy and health reform conversations during the COVID-19 pandemic. State Medicaid plans have an outsized role in addressing the SDOH challenges among Medicaid beneficiaries. In late 2018, the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) partnered with the Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP) and Texas Association of Community Health Plans (TACHP) to conduct the first ever survey of Texas MCO SDOH investment strategies. The survey findings were widely shared among key stakeholders. An important spinoff project is the MCO SDOH learning collaborative facilitated by the Center for Health Care Strategies, a collaborative effort between the two health plan associations and Texas Medicaid that was supported by EHF and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in 2019-2020.

In October 2020, EHF, TAHP and TACHP launched this second statewide MCO survey to better understand the challenges and opportunities to address their Medicaid members’ SDOH needs during the COVID-19 pandemic; support the learning collaborative discussion about facilitators and barriers to MCO SDOH investment; pinpoint knowledge gaps and technical assistance needs of MCOs relating to SDOH strategies; and identify potential alignment areas in policies and regulations to strengthen MCO SDOH investment.

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