Updated on: June 17, 2020

SDoH and COVID-19

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Original story posted on: June 16, 2020

Centene, National Minority Quality Forum Research Racial Disparities associated with COVID-19.

The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to invade society, drawing attention to the virus’s dramatic impact on racial and ethnic minorities, underserved populations, and their communities. Frightening facts continue to reflect the intersection of COVID and the social determinants of health (SDoH):

  • African-Americans are dying at nearly three times the rate of white Americans. 
  • In 42 states, plusWashington, D.C., Latinx comprise a greater share of confirmed cases than their share of the population; in eight states, it’s over four times greater.
  • Black COVID-19 patients are almost three times more likely of being admitted to a hospital compared to non-Hispanic white patients.
  • Over 30 percent of coronavirus cases have afflicted Native Americans, in some states.
  • Some 20.5 million U.S. residents currently lack health insurance, numbers that are rising with over 40 million people unemployed. Over17 million will be added to Medicaid rosters.

Why are these populations so heavily impacted by the virus, and what will be the impact of future public health emergencies? Centene, the National Minority Quality Forum, Quest Diagnostics, plus other public and private entities are partnering to learn how and why the pandemic impacts communities of color so harshly. 

The Minority and Rural Health Coronavirus Study will offer free diagnostic and antibody testing across five states, through Quest:

  • Testing will be available to the public, free of charge.
  • Testing sites will be pre-identified based on specific demographic characteristics. These include high proportions of African-American deaths in relation to the overall state population, plus the presence of communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

A total of 5,000 racial and ethnic minority volunteers will be tracked over five years, with the goal to monitor long-term effects of COVID-19 on their lives. Persons testing positive will receive monitoring kits, daily calls from providers for 14 days, medical advice, help to monitor symptom progression, and once-per-week calls for one month.

Researchers and academics will analyze and translate survey responses to valuable data. Their goal is ambitious, though critical: use the data to develop evidence-based solutions that inform the public health response to reduce healthcare disparities among underserved populations. The impact? Time will tell. The value of this initiative was posed to our Monitor Mondays audience in this week’s survey, with the results here.

Programming Note:  Ellen Fink-Samnick is a permanent panelist on Monitor Mondays. Listen to her live reporting every Monday at 10 a.m. EST.

Ellen Fink-Samnick MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CRP

Ellen Fink-Samnick is an award-winning healthcare industry expert. She is the esteemed author of books, articles, white papers, and knowledge products. A subject matter expert on the Social Determinants of Health, her latest books, The Essential Guide to Interprofessional Ethics for Healthcare Case Management and Social Determinants of Health: Case Management’s Next Frontier (with foreword by Dr. Ronald Hirsch), are published through HCPro. She is a panelist on Monitor Mondays, frequent contributor to Talk Ten Tuesdays, and member of the RACmonitor Editorial Board.

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