News Headlines Article

Most physicians say addressing social determinants of health isn’t their job
Modern Healthcare

Most physicians don’t think it’s their responsibility to address patients’ social determinants of health, according to a new survey from Leavitt Partners.

Nearly half of doctors reported that their patients would benefit from food assistance, affordable housing and transportation to appointments. Yet well over 50% of doctors didn’t think they or insurers have a role in providing that help.

Physicians’ resistance to address social determinants comes as providers are increasingly responsible for patients’ well-being with the transition to value-based payment models.  Research indicates an individual’s health status is tied to their social environment, so providers are currently rethinking—and debating—the services they should offer patients and the community.

In the survey, 45% of doctors said it would greatly or moderately help their patients if they had assistance obtaining affordable housing, but 91% said it wasn’t their responsibility. Forty-eight percent of doctors said food assistance would help their patients, although 84% responded they weren’t obligated to provide that service. And 66% of respondents said patients would benefit from help arranging transportation to healthcare visits, yet 69% didn’t think it was their responsibility.