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Recognizing the significance of social determinants, the ACA mandated that nonprofit hospitals conduct community needs assessments every three years and take part in community-level planning.

The traditional way for health care systems to improve people’s health is to provide them with the best medical care possible. In recent years, however, there has been a push to get hospitals to improve the health of their communities by supporting non-medical programs aimed at social determinants of health.

Social determinants of health include a variety of life circumstances that can affect health, such as stress, social isolation, poverty, food access, family support, access to education, unemployment and job safety, among many others.

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