COVID-19 Resources: The SDoH and Population-Based Care

List of resources for front-line professionals.

Everyone is coping with the new norm imposed by COVID-19, with those at risk for the social determinants of health (SDoH) facing even tougher challenges. This article offers a broad look at emerging resources for you and your populations.

  • Passage of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act:
    • Requires companies with under 500 employees and government agencies to give full-time employees 80 hours of paid sick leave and provide part-time employees with paid leave.
    • Amends the Family and Medical Leave Act, allowing up to 12 weeks of job protected leave.
      • Applies to anyone with coronavirus, in quarantine, or caring for someone in quarantine, or caring for a child under 18 whose school is closed from the outbreak.
    • Implements public health provisions, plus payment for COVID-19 diagnostic testing by private health plans at no cost to consumers.
    • Increases nutrition assistance through WIC, emergency food assistance programs, and other grant funding.
    • Provides funding directed toward meals for low-income seniors who are home-bound and/or have disabilities or chronic illnesses.
    • Grants permission for new school meal waivers.
  • Anyone laid off due to the outbreak should file for unemployment, whether due to business slowdown, illness, or caring for someone believed to be ill.
  • State utility companies are not shutting off power for non-payment. Energy assistance for customers experiencing financial strain is also available. Check local utility company websites for more information.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has rendered guidance on how community-based organizations involved in the PACE program should address COVID-19. These programs are critical lifelines for seniors. The guidelines allow them to stay safely in their homes versus seeking admission to nursing homes or other facilities, where risk of exposure to the virus is significant.
  • Food security is a priority.
  • On the housing front, evictions are being held up, but those already homeless are vulnerable to virus transmission. The recent Point in Time census listed over half a million persons experiencing homelessness. Efforts also include blocking off hotel rooms and deploying trailers, and tents. Shelters are ramping up efforts to monitor temperatures and conditions of residents.
  • United Way Indiana created a COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund to help with bills, rent, and food. Local United Way websites provide similar resource information across the U.S.
  • The National Community Action Agency Network ‘s more than 1,000 agencies around the U.S. provide financial and other social services.
  • The old standbys of and provide key resources to address essential social needs anywhere in the U.S.
  • Last but not least, there are intense mental health needs emerging from anxiety about the virus and fear of infection, along with exacerbation of prior behavioral health issues triggered by current events.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline is 1-800-985-5990, or text TALKWITHUS to 66746.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illnesshosts online communities for people to share issues and obtain support.
  • Support Group Centraloffers virtual support groups on mental health conditions for free or at low cost. This website also offers access in different languages, including Chinese and Spanish. 
  • Betterhelpis an app offering individual, couples, or teens counseling, with licensed therapists available via text, video, and audio. 
  • For Like Mindsis an online mental health support network that allows for individuals to connect with others who are experiencing stressful life events. 
  • Apps as Calm and Moodfit offer quick ways to address mild anxiety or depression, and promote coping.
  • If you or someone else is feeling depressed or suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

This list is fluid, with further resources to be provided moving forward. Stay tuned as updates continue to present.  

Programming Note: Listen to Ellen Fink-Samnick’s live reporting on the State of the Social Determinants weekly on Monitor Mondays, 10-10:30 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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