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Through Member collaboration, MCRA helps drive performance improvements, deliver exceptional service, transform care, and champion the health and wellbeing of the communities we collectively serve.

Engagys' 2nd Annual Health-Related Social Needs & SDoH Survey Highlights Ongoing Challenges and Opportunities in Healthcare Equity

Read the press release by MCRA Member, Engagys

Engagys LLC, the leading healthcare consumer engagement consulting and research firm, conducted its second annual Health-Related Social Needs (HRSN) and Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) survey to delve deeper into the impact of income, race, and disability on access to healthcare. The survey coincides with CMS's heightened focus on advancing health equity, lending timely relevance to the findings. The survey, conducted the week of April 8 via online panel, gathered responses from over 750 Americans of all ages who received care in the last 12 months.

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The findings shed light on persistent challenges faced by Low-Income Subsidies (LIS) recipients, Medicare and Medicaid eligible populations (dual eligibles), and individuals with disabilities, underscoring the urgent need for improvements in care delivery and equity. Major trends indicate a growing need for interventions targeting transportation barriers, discrimination, and social isolation. Additionally, results provide nuanced insights into specific challenges faced by vulnerable populations, including delayed care, discrimination, and feelings of isolation.

  • Access to Care: The survey revealed a concerning trend of increasing difficulty in accessing necessary care, particularly among vulnerable populations. Notably, 46.1% of respondents reported delaying care they felt was needed, up from 42.6% last year. Participants in the federal LIS program were disproportionately affected, with over 55% more likely to delay care compared to those not receiving financial support. Additionally, transportation barriers, exacerbated by rising costs, hindered access to medical appointments and essential services, with 23.7% of respondents citing lack of reliable transportation as a challenge.

  • Discrimination: Instances of discrimination in healthcare settings also persisted, with 15.9% of respondents reporting unfair treatment based on race or ethnicity, marking a slight increase from the previous year. However, economic status emerged as a more significant predictor of discriminatory experiences, with LIS recipients, dual eligibles, and individuals with disabilities facing disproportionately higher rates of discrimination compared to non-LIS recipients.

  • Social Isolation: While social isolation decreased overall from the previous year, vulnerable populations, particularly seniors and those receiving LIS, continued to experience higher levels of isolation. These findings underscore the stigma associated with seeking assistance and the importance of ensuring

  • Confidence and Care: Despite challenges, respondents reported improvements in confidence in self-care and overall health status. The majority expressed confidence in their ability to manage their health and access necessary care, with positive trends observed among vulnerable populations.

Jack Newsom, ScD, Partner at Engagys and research lead, commented on the survey results, emphasizing the call to action for health plans. He stated, "Our survey findings underscore the persistent barriers faced by vulnerable populations in accessing healthcare and experiencing equitable treatment. As CMS doubles down on health equity, it is incumbent upon health plans to proactively address these disparities. Engagys remains committed to supporting health plans in this endeavor and advancing initiatives that prioritize high quality, equitable care for all."

The results of Engagys' 2nd Annual HRSN & SDoH Survey underscore the pressing need to address disparities in healthcare access and delivery. As CMS continues to prioritize health equity, initiatives aimed at addressing social determinants of health remain crucial. By understanding the unique challenges faced by vulnerable populations, health plans can develop targeted interventions and communications to improve outcomes and reduce health disparities.

For more on the survey results, access the eBook on the Engagys website.

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