DENVER–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Element3 Health today announced its support of the proposed expansion of
ICD-10 codes to include Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). The
inclusion of SDOH is an important and meaningful step toward improving
health outcomes of seniors, lowering healthcare costs and delaying or
avoiding the onset of debilitating diseases.
of 500 random patients found that 68% suffer with at least one SDOH
challenge, with 57% having moderate-to-high risk in at least one of the
following categories: financial insecurity, social isolation, housing
insecurity, addiction, transportation access, food insecurity and health
literacy. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services closed public
comment on the codes Friday and will consider adopting the codes
starting Oct. 1, 2020.
“Not everything that afflicts patients can be cured with a pill.
Expanding the ICD-10 codes to include Social Determinants of Health will
empower physicians to treat their patients holistically,” said Element3
Health CEO David Norris.
Denver-based Element3 Health is a healthcare company dedicated to
improving the health and wellbeing of seniors through activities that
engage them mentally, physically and socially. Mounting evidence
supports the understanding of social isolation and loneliness as
significant underlying sources of deteriorating health. Element3
Health’s activity-based model addresses social isolation and loneliness,
reducing costs while improving health.
According to studies conducted by the AARP and other institutions,
social isolation alone costs Medicare an estimated $6.7 billion in
preventable healthcare expenses annually. A steady wave of national and
international research confirms that programs that help keep seniors
physically, mentally and socially active are low-cost, highly effective
safeguards against declining health, disease development and rising
· The Harvard Study of Adult Development, an 80-year longitudinal study
of men out of Harvard found that having strong social connections helped
keep men alive and healthy well into their 80s and 90s.
· An NIH study
published in 2012 found that leisure-time physical activity extends life
expectancy by as much as 4.5 years.
“Our own internal research supports the relationship between social
activity and lower physician visits and medication use,” Norris said.
“Giving physicians the ability to diagnose conditions such as loneliness
and social isolation as risk factors in both chronic and acute health
conditions will simplify a patient’s entry into proven, non-medical
programs that drive health outcomes and reduce costs.”
Barrier-free entry to non-medical healthcare programs are already in
place in the U.K., where the government recently approved a plan
to create a network of 1,000 “social prescribing workers” by April 2021.
Physicians will refer patients to these workers who will direct patients
to a variety of activities. The idea is to keep these patients engaged
in their communities and off of medications.
“The United States now has the opportunity to build upon the work being
done in the U.K. and take a lead in confronting SDOH,” Norris said.
“We applaud the efforts of United Healthcare, American Medical
Association, BCBS Vermont and Yale’s School of Nursing in promoting
these changes, and we support wholeheartedly the addition of SDOH to the
existing ICD-10 codes.”
About Element3 Health
Element3 Health is a network that engages 50-plus adults around their
passions to increase their physical, social and mental activity for
healthy aging. The company combines the three most powerful elements of
health into one cohesive solution in order to tackle the $75 billion of
unnecessary healthcare spending associated with social, mental and
physical decline among seniors. The company’s GroupWorks engagement
platform is growing quickly, adding millions of members and tens of
thousands of groups across more than 120 passions. Using an activity
scoring engine, Element3 Health can calculate individual ActivityBenefitTM
scores and use their proprietary GroupMatchTM matching engine
to help optimize members’ health across social, mental and physical