Advancing the Goals of Health Equity

Teams aim to design integrated healthcare delivery and payment reforms that address the social determinants of health.

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Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW) along with its parent organization Community Health Network of Washington (CHNW), announced in late September that they will join the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) in advancing the goals of health equity.

The CHPW/CHNW/HCA alliance is one of seven national teams comprised of competitively selected state Medicaid agencies, Medicaid health plans, and healthcare delivery systems that will work together to reduce health disparities as part of the Advancing Health Equity Learning Collaborative.

The Learning Collaborative is a component of the Advancing Health Equity: Leading Care, Payment, and Systems Transformation program (AHE), based at the University of Chicago and conducted in partnership with the Institute for Medicaid Innovation and the Center for Health Care Strategies.

Related:Three-Pronged Alliance Addresses Social Determinants of Health

“Health equity is often a goal put forward by healthcare organizations, but can be challenging to maintain at the center of the work. This project will keep health equity as the primary focus of its work. This is the first time that work of this nature and at this scale, centered on health equity, has been carried out,” says Leanne Berge, CEO of CHPW and CHNW. “Given the collaborative nature of this project, teams of Medicaid agencies, health plans, and providers from across the country will have the opportunity to design models that address disparities and learn from each other along the way. The opportunity to have the State Medicaid Agency as part of the team allows for possible policy changes that may be needed to tackle the barriers to addressing health disparities.”

The Collaborative will meet over the next two years to design integrated payment and healthcare delivery reforms to achieve health equity and then implement these efforts as part of Medicaid payer-provider partnerships in seven states. The teams will also incorporate interventions to address social determinants of health (SDoH) with the aim of producing best practice and policy recommendations.

“Without addressing health equity overall, we won’t be able to achieve the goals of improving individual and community health. The collaborative learning approach will help the AHE program participants understand how we can best meet the needs of our most vulnerable populations and learn from the experiences of the other teams and national experts,” Berge says. “As the seven teams participating in the program work to develop models to reduce specific health disparities, we’ll learn a lot about how to advance health equity through improved healthcare policies at the organizational, state and national levels.”

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