August 21, 2018

Seventeen Leading Health Systems Join Forces to Transform Care for Vulnerable Populations

Jordana Choucair

Jordana Choucair

August 23, 2018 – CHICAGO and MINNEAPOLIS – More than 15 of the nation’s leading health systems are joining forces to identify, develop, and scale financially sustainable solutions that improve healthcare for underserved individuals and families in their communities. The Medicaid Transformation Project is a national effort to transform healthcare and related social needs for the nearly 75 million Americans who rely on Medicaid for healthcare.

The work will focus on five critical challenges facing vulnerable populations across the country, four of which have already been identified: behavioral health, women and infant care, substance use disorder, and avoidable emergency department visits. Solutions that meet the needs of this diverse population will improve care for all vulnerable populations.

Health System Partners: Uniting for Change & Transformation

Five health systems anchor the work: Advocate Aurora Health in Chicago and Wisconsin; Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas; Dignity Health in San Francisco; Geisinger in Danville, Pa.; and Providence St. Joseph Health in Renton, Wash. Twelve of the nation’s most innovative health systems also join this work. Collectively, these 17 health systems share a common mission and sense of urgency to advance sustainable solutions that improve health for their diverse communities. Together, they span 21 states, 280 hospitals with over 53,000 hospitals beds, and over $100 billion in combined annual revenues.

The health systems will be able to better meet their communities’ needs through the proliferation and adoption of shared digital solutions and innovative care models. “Healthcare today must be consumer-centric, and engage patients with personalized experiences,” said Lloyd Dean, President and CEO of Dignity Health. “Together, we must bring down healthcare costs in order to provide access for the most vulnerable communities. It is my hope that our collaboration will unleash new avenues that bring down barriers to care and improve the overall health of our communities.”

In addition to the five health systems anchoring the work, 12 leading organizations have committed to transform healthcare by joining the Medicaid Transformation Project. They include:

Allina Health, Minneapolis, Minn.;

Ballad Health, Kingsport, Tenn.;

Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, Del.;

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wis.;

Henry Ford Health System, Detroit;

Memorial Hermann Health System, Houston;

Atrium Health Navicent, Macon, Ga.;

OSF HealthCare, Peoria, Ill.;

Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Albuquerque, N.M.;

Rush University Medical Center, Chicago;

Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Mich.; and

UVA Health System, Charlottesville, Va.

“We’ve seen exciting and positive momentum with digitally enabled solutions that engage our physicians, caregivers, patients, and consumers. Through the Medicaid Transformation Project, we know we can share what we’ve learned with other systems and amplify our ability to help patients through what we learn from these impressive partners,” said Dr. Rod Hochman, Providence St. Joseph Health President and CEO.

Who’s Involved? Partners Innovating for Change

The group’s efforts will be led by AVIA, the nation’s leading network for health systems seeking to innovate and transform by unlocking the power of digital, and Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator of CMS and Founder and General Partner at Town Hall Ventures. The AVIA Innovator Network connects 30+ action-oriented health systems across the nation. These health systems trust AVIA to help them identify, implement, and scale the best digital solutions to support their strategic objectives.

Slavitt founded Town Hall Ventures as a venture capital firm devoted to investing in and supporting entrepreneurs who are improving the health of underserved populations.

“The current healthcare system fails the people who need it most,” said Slavitt. “The Medicaid Transformation Project will be part of a decade-long journey leading some of the best health systems in the country. Our work will be to deepen and refine the best innovations and then implement them at an accelerated pace at providers across the country.”

The Need: Our Nation’s Health System is Unsustainable

All parties involved in the Medicaid Transformation Project agree the time to act is now.

One in five Americans is covered by Medicaid

50 percent of U.S. births are financed by Medicaid

Medicaid is the country’s No. 1 payer for behavioral health services

33 cents of every dollar for a physician’s services are paid by Medicare/Medicaid

“Geisinger has joined the Medicaid Transformation Project because of AVIA’s emphasis on action,” said Geisinger CEO and President David Feinberg. “The gap between the needs of vulnerable populations and the healthcare they receive is too great. We are no longer interested in discussing the problems our patients are facing or just piloting solutions – we’re interested in solving them as quickly as possible.”

“As the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas – a state which did not expand Medicaid – we remain committed to meeting the needs of the communities we serve, including providing access to care for those who cannot afford it,” said Jim Hinton, Baylor Scott & White Health CEO. “We are energized to be part of leading this national initiative and advancing sustainable solutions to meet the growing needs of our most vulnerable populations.

The Work Ahead: Scaling Financially Sustainable Solutions

To begin to address the five identified critical challenges, AVIA will work with a core team at each health system to implement solutions. They will share best practices across the network, creating a roadmap for partner organizations to act quickly to create change. The work will feature a Leadership Council, chaired by Slavitt and composed of health system CEOs, to maintain course.

The true power of the project is its collective force, which will accelerate action. “As part of our purpose to help people live well, we are committed to expanding access to critical health care services,” said Jim Skogsbergh, President and CEO of Advocate Aurora Health. “The Medicaid Transformation Project aligns with our community-focused approach to meeting the needs of those we are so privileged to serve.”

“We believe tomorrow’s solutions for today’s health disparities will be rooted in digital solutions and technologies that are easy to implement and scale,” said Nick Turkal, MD, President and CEO of Advocate Aurora Health. “This unique opportunity brings together like-minded systems who are committed to delivering greater value to those who deliver, receive, and pay for health care.”

AVIA and Its Team

“We are honored to partner with this powerhouse group of health systems and be an accelerant for the innovative work they’re doing to help vulnerable populations every day,” said AVIA President Linda Finkel. “These health systems are ready to have an even greater impact – by scaling sustainable care models and capabilities that can significantly improve the health of the underserved. And now, thanks to the potential to unlock digital solutions, there’s a stronger business case than ever. We are deeply privileged to be entrusted with leading this meaningful work.”

AVIA has tapped David Smith, formerly of Leavitt Partners, to lead the effort and has partnered with a number of leading Medicaid experts as active participants in the work, including Vikki Wachino, former Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Dr. Molly Coye, former Commissioner of Health for the State of New Jersey and Director of the California Department of Health Services.

“There is an incredible confluence of market and policy activity creating the right conditions to drive profound change for the least fortunate among us. Our health system partners believe that this moment is unique and their leadership can have a seminal impact in catalyzing nationwide energy and focus on the challenges facing our communities,” said Smith.

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Jordana is the senior vice president of communications and executive advisor. In this role, she collaborates closely with the CEO and president to design and implement policies, practices, and communications plans to help the firm shape a future system that actualizes a sustainable culture of health nationwide. Jordana has over 17 years of health, communications, and strategic planning experience in the private and public sector. She is certified to teach group fitness through the American Council and Exercise and holds a RYT-200 yoga teacher certification.