With seven new members, the Medicaid Transformation Project now includes 24 health systems operating in 25 states, representatives announced Thursday.
The project, which former CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt and AVIA launched earlier this year, aims to share information among health systems in order to improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations on Medicaid. By sharing best practices, the group hopes to optimize the Medicaid program across the country.
“By bringing together the nation’s leading health systems, we have a unique opportunity to improve the health of underserved populations in a way that hasn’t been done before," Slavitt, now chair of the project, said in a release. "We’re committed to sustainable, durable solutions that improve care and outcomes for people. We must consider the best existing and new ideas and invest in the right ones."
The new health systems represent a variety of distinct markets in the country:
- BayCare Health System in Clearwater, Florida
- Boston Medical Center in Boston
- Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles
- Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia
- Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado
- Jefferson Health in Philadelphia
- University Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio
The group noted that poorer, vulnerable populations tend to have worse health outcomes and a shorter life expectancy than those wealthier areas. The project's members believe innovation can close some of that gap.
Specifically, over the next two years, the project is planning to target four central challenges facing the health of vulnerable communities: behavioral health, women and infant care, substance use disorder and emergency department transformation. This final item, helping prevent avoidable ED visits, was the first challenge the group planned to tackle when it met at its Action Forum last October.
Essentially, by better coordinating information, the health systems hope to link other parts of the healthcare delivery system, like primary care and social services, to the ED to defray unnecessary visits. They looked at 10 demonstrations of potential solutions at the forum and developed a roadmap for more collaborative work.
"The collaborative model of the Medicaid Transformation Project is providing us with a new and necessary lens to view a long-standing challenge, which is improving access and coordination to community care,” said Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai, in the release. “Our team is excited to share what we’ve learned working with our community partners, and to scale new digital solutions that lower long-standing barriers to care.”