Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar today previewed the agency’s plans to better address social determinants of health. “We believe we could spend less money on health care – and most important, help Americans live healthier lives – if we did a better job of aligning federal health investments with our investments in non-health care needs,” Azar said at a Hatch Foundation for Civility and Solutions event in Washington. He added, “Just like how every patient is different in health care, every person has unique social service needs – and we are intent on designing models that connect them to the services they need, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach … What if we provided solutions for the whole person, including addressing housing, nutrition and other social needs? What if we gave organizations more flexibility so they could pay a beneficiary’s rent if they were in unstable housing, or make sure that a diabetic had access to, and could afford, nutritious food? If that sounds like an exciting idea … I want you to stay tuned to what [the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation] is up to.”

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