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Patients enrolled in Medicaid have significantly higher social needs (SNs) than others. Using claims and electronic health records (EHRs) data, managed care organizations (MCOs) could systemically identify high-risk patients with SNs and develop population health management interventions. Impact of SNs on models predicting health care utilization and costs was assessed. This retrospective study included claims and EHRs data on 39,267 patients younger than age 65 years who were continuously enrolled during 2018–2019 in a Medicaid-managed care plan. SN marker was developed suggesting presence of International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision codes in any of the 5 SN domains. Impact of SN marker was compared across demographic and 2 diagnosis-based (ie, Charlson and Adjusted Clinical Groups risk score) prediction models of emergency department (ED) visit and hospitalizations, and total, medical, and pharmacy costs. After combining data sources, prevalence of documented SN marker increased from 11% and 13% to 18% of the study population across claims, EHRs, and both combined, respectively. SN marker improved predictions of demographic models for all utilization and total costs outcomes (area under the curve [AUC] of ED model increased from 0.57 to 0.61 and R2 of total cost model increased from 10.9 to 12.2). In both diagnosis-based models, adding SN marker marginally improved outcomes prediction (AUC of ED model increased from 0.65 to 0.66). This study demonstrated feasibility of using claims and EHRs data to systematically capture SNs and incorporate in prediction models that could enable MCOs and policy makers to adjust and develop effective population health interventions.
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