Detecting Social Risk Factors Decreases Medical Spending


Screening for social risk factors can reduce frequent hospitalization and medical spending, according to a study published in HSOA Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health Care.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the expansion of Medicaid led to the need for data models to anticipate spending for beneficiaries. The Medical Home Network (MHN) manages a Medicaid accountable care organization (ACO) in the Chicago area that serves 80,000 Medicaid beneficiaries. MHN has developed a risk assessment tool used to detect social determinants of health in the domains of social circumstances, behavioral patterns and environmental exposure. The 5-minute questionnaire asks new beneficiaries about health and social risk factors with the assumption that an increase in social risk factors will increase medical and pharmacy spending.

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