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Coalition on Medicaid transformation releases phase one report

Coalition on Medicaid transformation releases phase one report

Health systems are making progress in delivering care to vulnerable communities, according to a new report released this week by the Medicaid Transformation Project.

The project is a coalition that includes 30 health systems from across the country, including Advocate Aurora Health, OSF HealthCare, Rush University Medical Center and BJC Healthcare, that are focused on ways to pinpoint, develop and scale financially sustainable solutions to assist Medicaid patients.

Since launching in 2018, the systems have generated over 150 actions to assist patients according to the report, including creating new apps, virtual visits and mobile devices to monitor patients, plus operational changes to extend care beyond the system’s physical structures.

The project is led by AVIA, a Chicago-based national innovation network for hospitals and health systems, with support from Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It is focused on four main areas: behavioral health, women and infant care, substance use disorder and avoidable emergency department visits.

David Smith, AVIA’s lead on the project, told Health News Illinois that some highlights for the first two years have been the ability to better track the existing initiatives that health systems are undertaking and to introduce these platforms for others to possibly emulate.

Specifically, 81 percent of member systems are improving care in the community to help people rely less on emergency departments, 64 percent are addressing patients with acute behavioral health needs, 75 percent are closing gaps in care for moms and babies and 38 percent are increasing access and support for people with substance use disorder.

Project leaders also acknowledged the healthcare challenges being raised by COVID-19 and recent civil unrest that has brought renewed focus on healthcare disparities among Black and Brown communities.

“COVID-19, financial hardship, and racial disparities have only heightened the need to improve care for the vulnerable and communities of color,” Slavitt said in a statement. “The health systems in MTP strive to be leaders in this fight. Two years ago, they dedicated themselves to serving underserved communities. Using innovation to serve these forgotten populations has never been more important.”

Phase two of the project will welcome payers, community health centers, and other local and regional partners into the community to collaborate on ways to bring meaningful change to their vulnerable patients. Several large payers are expected to be announced as project members in the coming months.

Smith said he has been very excited by the work that has been completed in the first two years of the project and what it can mean moving forward.

“It’s far exceeded our expectations and we think we can continue to do that as we move into a new phase of work,” he said.

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