On January 5, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a funding opportunity of up to $157 million for a five-year program to focus on health-related social needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The program, entitled the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) model, is a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center model that will help to determine if quality of life for beneficiaries is improved by screening for health-related social needs and associated referrals to and navigation of community-based services. The core areas of focus are housing instability and quality, food insecurity, utility needs, interpersonal violence, and transportation needs.
Up to 44 bridge organizations will be supported by the AHC model through cooperative agreements. Bridge organizations will be awarded funding ranging from $1 million to $4.5 million depending on the intensity of interventions that link beneficiaries with community service.
The AHC model will promote clinical-community collaboration through:
- Screening of community-dwelling beneficiaries to identify certain unmet health-related social needs;
- Referral of community-dwelling beneficiaries to increase awareness of community services;
- Provision of navigation services to assist high-risk community-dwelling beneficiaries with accessing community services; and
- Encouragement of alignment between clinical and community services to ensure that community services are available and responsive to the needs of community-dwelling beneficiaries.
Registration is now open for two webinars on the AHC model application process on Thursday, January 21 and Wednesday, January 27. Applications must be submitted by March 31, 2016. For more information, please visit the CMS website.