Accountable Health Communities Track 1 Funding Opportunity

By Patrick Conway, M.D., principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer, CMS

In January 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for a model called the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model. This is the first Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation model to focus on the health-related social needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Many of these social issues, such as housing instability, hunger, and interpersonal violence, affect individuals’ health, yet they are rarely, if ever, detected or addressed during typical health care-related visits. The AHC Model is based on emerging evidence that addressing health-related social needs through enhanced clinical-community linkages can improve health outcomes and reduce costs.

The original Funding Opportunity Announcement requested applications for three different scalable tracks featuring interventions of varying intensity that would address health-related social needs for beneficiaries. After receiving significant interest, inquiries and stakeholder feedback, CMS has decided to make modifications to the Track 1 application requirements and is releasing a new FOA specific to Track 1 of the AHC Model. CMS believes two key modifications to Track 1 will make the model more accessible to a broader set of applicants

  1. Reducing the annual number of beneficiaries applicants are required to screen from 75,000 to 53,000; and
  1. Increasing the maximum funding amount per award recipient from $1 million to $1.17 million over 5 years.

Track 1 will support bridge organizations that are working to increase a patient’s awareness of available community services through screening, information dissemination, and referral. The Track 1 approach seeks to address the decreased capacity of clinical delivery sites to respond to beneficiaries’ health-related social needs because (1) health-related social needs remain undetected due to the lack of universal screening and (2) clinical delivery sites and patients may lack awareness about existing community service providers that could address those needs.  Track 1 award recipients will partner with the state Medicaid agency, community service providers and clinical delivery sites to implement the Model.

The AHC Model complements CMS’ growing focus on population health by providing the necessary tools and support for a successful transition to a holistic health system. The AHC Model will also enhance CMS’ understanding of the impact of interventions to address social needs on health care costs.

We look forward to the applications to this FOA. Please contact us at the email address below for further information.

Application Information:

Under this announcement, CMS is accepting applications from community-based organizations, health care practices, hospitals and health systems, institutions of higher education, local government entities, tribal organizations, and for-profit and non-for- profit local and national entities with the capacity to develop and maintain relationships with clinical delivery sites and community service providers.  Applicants from all 50 states, U.S. Territories, or the District of Columbia (D.C.) may apply. All applicants, including those who applied to Tracks 1, 2 or 3 in the previous FOA, are eligible to apply to this FOA. Applicants that previously applied to Track 1 of the AHC Model under the original FOA (# CMS-1P1-17-001) must re-apply using this FOA (# CMS-1P1-17-002) to be considered for the Model.

The AHC Model is accepting applications for Track 1 at www.grants.gov through November 3, 2016.

Have a Question?

Questions about the AHC Model can be sent to AccountableHealthCommunities@cms.hhs.gov.

Additional Information:

For more information about the AHC Model, please visit our website at https://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/ahcm. Follow us on Twitter at @CMSinnovates

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