Inside Health Care Episode #014: Sheila Shapiro, Coding Social Determinants

March 26, 2019 · Lawrence Green

NCQA’s podcast Inside Health Care is back with a topic making a lot of news recently: ICD-10 diagnostic codes that capture social determinants of health.

In this episode, Matt Brock, NCQA’s Director of Communications, chats with Sheila Shapiro, UnitedHealthcare’s (UHC) Vice President for National Strategic Partnerships. Sheila talks about UHC’s efforts to promote these new codes.

Medicare providers can use them to target codes for social issues? Lack of healthy food choices? Limited transportation? You bet they can. Capturing these data will let providers address their patients’ needs and recommend community or government resources. And UHC has created a design model to recognize when a patient needs assistance related to social determinants of health.

Sheila says that since 2011, UHC has spent almost $400 million to help build affordable housing. In 2018 it delivered 1.7 million meals to local and national food banks. Looking ahead, it plans to schedule as many as 7 million rides for patients on its nonemergency medical transportation service.

Impressive contributions, to be sure. But expanding medical codes to include real issues that prevent or affect care is even more likely to meet patient needs. Don’t miss Sheila Shapiro’s take on UHC’s ambitious goal, on this episode of Inside Health Care.

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