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Ballad Health, 16 other health systems look to transform Medicaid

Johnson City Press • Updated Aug 22, 2018 at 6:05 PM

Ballad Health will be joining 16 other health systems to work on a national effort called The Medicaid Transformation Project, with the goal developing actionable solutions that address the health and social needs of the nearly 75 million Americans who rely on Medicaid. 

According to a Ballad Health press release, the work will focus on five areas of opportunity, four of which have already been identified: behavioral health, child and maternal health, substance use disorder and avoidable emergency department visits.

“Ballad Health is proud to participate in this project with some of the most innovative thinkers in the nation,” Ballad Health CEO and Executive Chairman Alan Levine said in a press release. 

“We are a new kind of integrated health system, designed to address the most critical needs of residents in Southern Appalachia, a part of the country with serious health and demographic challenges. If we can’t find a way to improve the delivery of services to this vulnerable population, then who can?

“Finding better, lower cost ways to deliver better health, rather than just health care, is critical to the future of our country and the sustainability of our health delivery system.”

The 17 Medicaid Transformation Project participants span 21 states and are comprised of 280 hospitals with more than 53,000 inpatient beds. Collectively, the health systems generate $100 billion in annual revenues.

Some of the Medicaid Transformation Project health care systems include: Dignity Health in San Francisco, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, UVA Health System in Charlottesville, Virginia; and Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. 

The group’s efforts will be led by Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and founder and general partner at Town Hall Ventures, and AVIA, the nation’s leading network for health systems seeking to use digital technology to drive innovation. 

Slavitt founded Town Hall Ventures as a venture capital firm devoted to investing in and supporting entrepreneurs who are improving the health of underserved populations.

“The current health care system fails the people who need it most,” Slavitt said. “The Medicaid Transformation Project will be part of a decade-long journey leading some of the best health systems in the country.

“Our work will be to deepen and refine the best innovations and then implement them at an accelerated pace with providers across the country.”

To begin to address the five identified challenges, AVIA will work with a team at each health system to identify and implement solutions. They will share best practices across the network, creating a roadmap for partner organizations to act quickly to create change, the release stated. The work will feature a Leadership Council, chaired by Slavitt and composed of health system CEOs, to maintain course. 

“We are honored to partner with this powerhouse group of health systems and be an accelerant for the innovative work they’re doing to help vulnerable populations every day,” AVIA President Linda Finkel said. 

“These health systems are ready to have an even greater impact — by scaling sustainable care models and capabilities that can significantly improve the health of the underserved.

“And now, thanks to the potential to unlock digital solutions, there’s a stronger business case than ever. We are deeply privileged to be entrusted with leading this meaningful work.”

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