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Social resources beyond your practice

Only 20% of health outcomes are influenced by clinical care. 

That’s right. Only 20%.

It turns out that the other 80% of health outcomes are influenced by social determinants of health. Below are some of those social determinants of health and some resources that may help.

Housing

Housing instability: frequent moving, homelessness, overcrowding in the home, unsafe housing conditions, difficulty paying rent or rent accounting for more than 50% of household income.

Those with insecure housing are more likely to put off acquiring health care due to cost and likely won’t come into your practice for self care, but rather for care of a loved one. 

Your patients can find rental assistance through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The website offers persons in need a place to search for privately owned apartments with reduced rent or public housing. To find your local public housing agency, visit HUD’s resource and click on the provided map for localized information. Patients may qualify for the housing voucher program to subsidize their rent costs. 

Other resource links from HUD & HHS:

Local rental assistance

Local homeless assistance

More housing information

Homelessness resources and programs (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Utilities (water, gas, electricity, oil)

Though utilities could fall under housing, it is separate as programs differ. For instance, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists low-income households with their heating and cooling energy costs, bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance, weatherization and energy-related home repairs. 

See benefits.gov for more information about programs that assist patients with water, gas, electricity and oil. 

Food

Food insecurity: the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

The USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, provides food benefits, access to a healthy diet and (what is lesser known about) education on food preparation. Special SNAP for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is also available. Though both have food eligibility requirements, WIC is known to have more specific rules, such as which exact item and brand is acceptable. 

Over 1 in 5 children in the U.S. live in a food-insecure household. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) helps children attending school by offering many free or reduced breakfast and/or lunch. As it turns out, 94% of Feeding America client households with school-aged children engage with the NSLP. If a family is part of SNAP or TANF, they are typically automatically enrolled in the NSLP, though they may want to double check just to be sure. 

Other links:

What to know about Food Stamps

SNAP by state

Child Care

Child care is one of the most difficult for needy families, as you need money to survive but if you have to spend the bulk, if not all, on child care what’s the use of the job? But there is help. 1.4 million children receive child care subsidies every month funded by the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides grant funds to states and territories to provide services such as child care assistance, job preparation and work assistance. 

Other links:

State TANF assistance 

State and Territory CCDF Administrators 

Employment

TANF may offer employment assistance in your state, and other resources can help. If unemployed, an individual may be eligible for unemployment benefits such as monetary compensation, educational help, unemployment insurance, continuation of health coverage from their previous employer (COBRA), short-term or long-term disability insurance, workers’ compensation for illness or injury on the job, etc. 

Education

Individuals may be eligible for educational unemployment help (as previously mentioned), and others may qualify for Federal Pell Grants or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG). Federal loans are also available through the higher education institution in which the individual is enrolled. 

Safety 

For those suffering from unsafe situations such as abuse, seeing a doctor is a mess of constructed lies to explain why they have marks or act the way they do. As a healthcare practice, it is important to watch for warning signs of abuse and offer help where you can. In any case of severe issue or distress, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. 

Here is a list of resources that can help:

As a health care facility, you do not need to know which program is the perfect fit, but knowing the right places to turn can make a huge difference in someone’s life if they do not know where to start.

To learn more about social determinants of health, see our free ebook here


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