Health equity presents the idea that everyone deserves a fair shot at living their healthiest possible life. But some populations may be at a disadvantage due to social determinants of health (SDoH) – social, economic or physical conditions they experience at home, school, work and elsewhere in their neighborhoods and communities. SDoH can lead to variances in health status/distribution of health resources, tipping the scale towards health inequity.
What does this mean for you and your staff? Each patient brings more to your office than the symptoms they present on the surface. SDoH may affect a patient’s ability or willingness to follow their physician’s recommended treatment plans, so it’s important to adopt a “whole-person” approach. Here are just a few examples:
- Access to healthy food – Proper nutrition is fundamental to health and wellness. Does your patient have nearby options to shop for fresh, healthy food?
- Transportation options – Do they have access to safe, convenient, affordable transportation so they can make and keep health care appointments?
- Culture, race/ethnicity – What cultural preferences make your patient unique? Are there potential language barriers?
- Income/financial stability – Are there financial concerns that may prevent your patient from keeping appointments? (Can they take time off from work? Do they have childcare?)
- Support/advocacy – Is the individual connected with family, friends or community groups if they need help? Are there resources available to provide information/education?
- Health coverage – Does your patient have insurance? Do they understand their benefits? Are they aware of the importance of preventive care and do they know where to find it?
We encourage you to learn more, as strategies for achieving health equity continue to gain momentum. This section of our website offers resources to help you and your staff stay informed and engaged.
What You Can Do Now
There are many resources on various websites to help you learn more about health equity and social determinants of health and form a plan to work with your patients. Learn more
What BCBSTX is Doing to Address Health Equity and SDoH
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) is committed to helping improve health equity for our members and the communities that we serve. he prevalence of health disparities has both a moral and economic imperative for action. Consequently, we are seeking to address opportunities (see below) to help improve health equity within the health care delivery system and outside of health care, upstream from disease and medical treatment.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Awards nearly $2.1 Million in 2022-2023 Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® Grants
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Teams Up With the National Fitness Campaign, Bringing Outdoor Fitness Courts to Texas
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Highlights Community Support in 2021 Corporate Responsibility Report
- The Caring Foundation of Texas is Removing Barriers to Preventative Care
We are the lead sponsor for the Caring Foundation of Texas (CFT) Care Van® Program. For many years, CFT’s fleet of Care Vans have brought public health services such as school-aged childhood immunizations, dental sealants, vision and hearing screenings and health literacy to children in schools, churches, parks, shopping centers, public housing, community events, recreation centers and other locations. In addition, adult preventive services such as kidney screenings, blood pressure checks and flu vaccines. All these services are provided at no cost to under and uninsured populations.
Our shared customers – our members, your patients – are our neighbors, relatives, and classmates of our children. It is imperative that we work together as a team, with the common goal of supporting the best possible outcomes. Watch for more resources in the future, in addition to the following:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health Equity Strategy
- Howard Brown Health
- Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity
- Social Determinants of Health - Z Codes
The above material is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician or other health care provider. Physicians and other health care providers are encouraged to use their own medical judgment based upon all available information and the condition of the patient in determining the appropriate course of treatment. References to third party sources or organizations are not a representation, warranty or endorsement of such organizations. Any questions regarding those organizations should be addressed to them directly. The fact that a service or treatment is described in this material is not a guarantee that the service or treatment is a covered benefit and members should refer to their certificate of coverage for more details, including benefits, limitations and exclusions. Regardless of benefits, the final decision about any service or treatment is between the member and their health care provider.