The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Thursday announced the selection of 32 participants to participate in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s Accountable Health Communities (AHC) model.

Several of the selected participants are located in communities served by members of America’s Essential Hospitals, and all have the potential to provide models for clinical-community partnership.

Over a five-year period, CMS will test the three-track AHC model, which aims to support local communities in tackling the health-related social needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Participating organizations will serve as community hubs to assist patients with housing instability, food insecurity, utility needs, interpersonal violence, and transportation.

Assistance Track

Twelve organizations were selected for the AHC Assistance Track. As such, they will provide community navigation assistance to help high-risk beneficiaries access needed services.

Alignment Track

CMS selected 20 organizations for the AHC Alignment Track. Participants in this track will provide community service navigation services, as well as encourage relationships and communication with community-level partners.

Both the Assistance and Alignment tracks will begin May 1 with a five-year performance period.

Awareness Track

A third track will aim to promote beneficiary  awareness of community services. Announcements related to the AHC Awareness Track are scheduled for summer 2017.

America’s Essential Hospitals Advancing Population Health

This CMS investment in population health mirrors America’s Essential Hospitals’ commitment to helping members move beyond the hospital walls to address social determinants of health.

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) planning grant supported development of a population health road map to guide hospitals and health systems toward population health improvement activities. In addition, work under a recently-launched RWJF grant will assist essential hospitals in moving along the road map — through stakeholder engagement, a resource center, and in-depth learning networks. One of the first opportunities for active engagement in this work is the population health pre-conference session at VITAL2017.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions about the CMS announcement. For questions about population health activities at the association, contact Director of Research Kalpana Ramiah at kramiah@essentialhospitals.org or 202-585-0126.