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Robert B. Vogel, MD, JD
Retinal Ophthalmologist at Piedmont Eye Center, Lynchburg VA;
Attorney, Overbey Hawkins & Wright, PLLS, Lynchburg, VA;
Adjunct Professor, Humanities and Bioethics, Liberty University School of Medicine, Lynchburg, VA.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced its Accountable Health Communities (AHC) model, an innovation to address the gap they say exists between clinical care and community services. With AHCs, CMS aims to save healthcare dollars and improve health outcomes by “identifying and addressing the health-related social needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries through screening, referral, and community navigation services.” This model will address the unmet needs of beneficiaries that may be affecting their utilization of healthcare resources, such as access to healthy food and affordable housing.
The AHC model is a five-year program that includes the following three tracks:
CMS has identified bridge organizations that will serve as hubs for forming and coordinating the AHC concept. So far, it has funded the Assistance Track and the Alignment Track. There are 12 organizations identified for the Assistance Track that will receive $2.57 million each, and 20 Alignment Track organizations that will receive $4.51 million each. CMS projects 12 recipients of the Awareness Track awards to be announced soon that would receive $1 million each. The total allotment for the program is $120 million.