A recent ruling by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will help those living in rural areas and underserved populations, especially those who struggle with basic life needs.

The CMS ruling makes numerous benefits available that would address these challenges, including in-home care support for patients, nutrition assistance and meal delivery, home cleaning services that remove air irritants, and even transportation for non-medical outings such as grocery shopping.

For the elderly and disabled, assistance with these needs can make a huge difference in their health. Overcoming such barriers can reduce or prevent some of the expensive medical care that many people with chronic disease may require.

Federal lawmakers and regulators should take every opportunity to support health plans in their ongoing efforts to deliver the preventive health benefits and services necessary for tackling social determinants of health in Virginia. The CMS ruling is an excellent start.

Pamela Murphy

Mount Crawford

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