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Analysis

Nearly Two-Thirds of Employers Focusing More on SDOH Because of Racial Unrest

By Jack O'Brien  
   June 29, 2020

Additionally, most employers plan on administering employee temperature checks onsite in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Nearly two-thirds of employers say they will focus more on social determinants of health (SDOH) due to recent social unrest, according to a Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) survey released Monday morning. 

The survey found that employers are aiming to engage in "practical steps aimed at addressing underlying, minority-related health issues" that have been highlighted by recent protests against police brutality and racism.

Related: Hospital Groups Speak Out About George Floyd Killing, Nationwide Protests   

Forty-five percent of respondents indicated that they would reevaluate benefit design to "address health system inequities" and an equal amount of respondents pledged to expand access areas of clinics and network providers.

"As providers of health benefits to roughly half of Americans, employers said they have a role to play in addressing existing inequities in the delivery of medical services and the social determinants that impact the health of their workforce," the survey read. "And they are actively planning for how they can do more to bring greater equity to the system, their employees and their families." 

Related: Social Determinants of Health: Lead or Partner  

Survey respondents also detailed plans for returning employees safely to work and instituting new protections in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

Employer responses to PBGH varied in regards to phased returns to work, with some intending to allow work from home for the foreseeable future, others indicating that the return to work wouldn't begin until September at the earliest, to one that said a return wouldn't occur for the next 12 to 18 months.

Nearly 90% of employers responded that they will require face masks and 94% said they will alter workspaces to allow for social distancing.

Related: ProMedica Offers Social Determinants of Health Services for Employees During COVID Crisis  

Most employers also plan on administering employee temperature checks onsite in response to the coronavirus outbreak, though one-third of respondents said they have no plans to test returning employees for COVID-19.

Employer concerns around testing employees for the coronavirus mainly center around the cost aspect, though other worries are based on privacy issues and test accuracy.

Related: How to Build a Connected Community to Address Social Determinants of Health  

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: Austin, Texas / USA - May 30, 2020: Protesters demonstrate against police brutality outside of the City of Austin Police Department headquarters in Downtown Austin, TX. / Editorial credit: Poli Pix Co. LLC / Shutterstock.com


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