Scaling Action on Social Determinants of Health and Social Needs in Primary Care

Blue Shield of California and Milbank Memorial Fund

Thursday May 12, 2022 03:00 pm to 04:00 pm EDT
United States

Millions of Americans have unmet social needs. These needs are often attributed to the community-level social determinants of health—health behaviors and socioeconomic factors that are estimated to contribute to 80% to 90% of a person’s health. Underlying issues such as systemic racism and chronic poverty lead to social needs that affect patient health outcomes. Research shows that unmet social needs have implications for cost, quality, and access for health systems.

In its report, Implementing High-Quality Primary Care, the National Academies supports a payment model for primary care that assists people in addressing the social determinants of health. The work of tackling the social determinants of health by addressing patient social needs and gathering data often falls to primary care, layering more accountabilities on providers that often lack sufficient resources.

Work is underway to support providers in incorporating data on social determinants of health and to enable providers to help their patients meet their social needs in primary care. This event will ground attendees on the social determinants of health and health-related social needs and describe how payment innovation can help address these drivers of population health outcomes.

Objectives for the event

  • Present a future vision for primary care that addresses patient social needs and the social determinants of health
  • Build the case, leveraging the NASEM report, for why multi-payer collaboration is necessary to strengthen work on the issue
  • Provide examples of how payers, providers, and technology companies are collaborating to resource and improve access to solutions
  • Create a platform for payers in California to come to the table on redesigning how they pay for primary care, with specific next steps that can easily be made toward building this coalition


  • James Cruz, Chief Medical Officer @Blue Shield of California, Promise Health Plan
  • Laura Gottlieb , Director, Social Interventions Research & Evaluation Network; Professor @UCSF, Department of Family and Community Medicine
  • Chris Koller , President @Milbank Memorial Fund
  • Rishi Manchanda , Chief Executive Officer @HealthBegins
  • Kameron Matthews,  Chief Health Officer @Cityblock Health
  • Joe Castiglione (Moderator), Principal Program Manager of Industry Initiatives @Blue Shield of California
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