Research Addresses Unmet Basic Needs

Innovations & Initiatives
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Social determinants of health have received a lot of press coverage in the past few years, but Centene has worked to improve the conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play since our founding in 1984. Economic and social conditions affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes, and groups of conditions tend to cluster together. Examples of social determinants of health include:

  • Food insecurity
  • Living conditions
  • Access to healthcare
  • Public safety
  • Unemployment
  • Transportation options

Social determinants of health and unmet basic needs directly affect health-related decisions and actions.

Research conducted by the Centene Center for Health Transformation was recently published by Health Education and Behavior, a journal for public health and health education professionals. The Center examined the association between unmet needs and their effect on health in a sample of Medicaid beneficiaries from 35 states.

Findings support the theory that multiple unmet needs leave people less able to focus on long-term goals, including good health. Higher levels of unmet social needs were associated with:

  • Barriers to self-care, including more stress, less thought about the future, and less value placed on prevention.
  • Worse health behaviors, including smoking, less frequent fruit/vegetable consumption, and less exercise.
  • Worse health outcomes, including lower self-reported health and higher number of chronic conditions.

The study results indicate that interventions to help low-income populations meet social needs may help improve both their economic situations and their health. Visit the Center's website for more information on the article, titled, "Social needs and health-related outcomes among Medicaid beneficiaries," here

The Centene Center for Health TransformationTM is a community-corporate-academic healthcare partnership that advances life-centric health research to improve lives so that communities can thrive. For more information regarding the Centene Center for Health Transformation, visit https://www.centenecenter.wustl.edu.

05/01/2019