The Accountable Community for Health model is emerging as a promising vehicle toward reaching the full potential of the Triple Aim-particularly efforts to improve population health. Accountable Communities for Health: Opportunities and Recommendations, Prevention Institute's report for the state of Vermont, presents research and analysis conducted by Prevention Institute to inform the potential development and application of the Accountable Community for Health (ACH) model. An ACH advances previous efforts in community health by engaging healthcare as a central partner in community-wide health improvement. At its core, an ACH is a structure for collaboration that represents a major change in direction in healthcare with tremendous opportunities and challenges.
ACHs integrate medical care, mental and behavioral healthcare, and social service supports with efforts to improve the community conditions that shape health and wellbeing in a geographical area. As emerging, the ACH concept is unique in that it:
- Brings together major healthcare providers across a geographic area, and requires them to operate as partners rather than competitors;
- Focuses on the health of all residents in a geographic area rather than just a patient panel;
- Engages a broad set of partners outside of healthcare to improve overall population health; and
- Identifies multiple strands of resources that can be applied to ACH-defined objectives that explore the potential for redirecting savings from healthcare costs in order to sustain collaborative efforts.
For this report, Prevention Institute examined five national sites engaged in activities aligned with ACH principles, then studied six existing efforts in Vermont that could form the basis of an ACH. This document provides profiles and analyses of these 11 sites, details the core elements of an ACH, and issues a specific set of recommendations for implementing an ACH.
While written for the Department of Vermont Health Access to inform the potential development and application of the ACH model within Vermont's healthcare landscape, the major findings and recommendations of this document will be useful to any state or locality interested in learning more about the Accountable Community for Health model and efforts to engage healthcare as a central partner in community-wide health improvement.