With uncertainty surrounding health care policy, sharing best practices for payment reform and population health is becoming more common among hospitals and health systems. Learning collaboratives and large resource networks offer opportunities to create and foster valuable provider connections.

An initiative by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Arizona State University, and other partners — including America’s Essential Hospitals — seeks to convene and support a larger network of essential providers to promote payment and care delivery reform.

The National Safety Net Advancement Center (SNAC) offers an online, curated resource center; grantmaking to support payment reform projects; and a scholarship-based virtual learning collaborative (VLC).

Summaries of two VLC meetings provide key lessons for essential providers:

  • The first VLC — Clinical Care Team Transformation Strategies — highlights governance, practice transformation, care management, and analytical infrastructure as critical elements for successful care team transformation; and
  • The second VLC — Network Structure, Governance, and Operations — underscores the importance of implementing adequate financial and clinical integration, effective network governance models, and essential infrastructure components as means of building efficient clinical networks.

This support for payment reform among essential providers comes at a critical time for other essential hospital initiatives. For example, a recent blog series from AcademyHealth illustrates how payment reform holds major implications for population health.

Population health initiatives, which require upfront investments, might not always fall into traditional payment or reimbursement mechanisms. Alternative payment models can help to overcome these limitations and foster long-term sustainability.

Under a new 18-month grant, Essential Hospitals Institute will convene two learning networks to support member hospitals as they move forward with population health initiatives. The grant also will focus heavily on fostering connections between national and local partners.

The Institute has established resources pages dedicated to payment reform and population health.