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Building Blocks for Addressing Social Determinants of Health

Our health care system is waking up to the fact that the health of individuals and families does not depend solely on good coverage and good medical care; it also requires us to address social and other factors that are major contributors to a person’s physical and mental well-being. That’s why more and more clinics are screening incoming patients for challenges in areas ranging from housing conditions, nutrition, access to transportation, and even their ability to afford utilities. It’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics urged its members not only to screen all patients for food insecurity but to refer parents to appropriate agencies. It is also why some hospitals, to reduce readmissions, have brought organizations like Health Leads into their discharge planning to connect patients with social services.

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