The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Jan. 5 announced the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model, developed by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation (CMMI), which will aid in bridging critical gaps between clinical care and community services in the current health care delivery system by systematically identifying and addressing beneficiaries’ health related social needs.
Health related social needs will include: food insecurity, inadequate housing, risks of developing chronic conditions, and other factors that contribute to increased costs and avoidable utilization of health care. Through these efforts, CMS will evaluate the impact of social-determinant factors on total health care costs and improve overall health and quality of care.
The model is a five-year program funded up to $157 million by the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152), and will support up to 44 organizations to utilize standard, comprehensive, screening assessments for health-related social needs among all Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries who seek care within those participating clinical delivery sites. The model will focus on three health-related social needs areas: community referral, community service navigation, and community service alignment.
CMS will host two webinars Jan. 21 and Jan. 27 for organizations wanting to learn more about the AHC Model application process.