MORRISVILLE (April 5, 2019) -- The United States is in the midst of a transition from a system that pays for health care to one that pays for health. As we try to bend the cost curve in the delivery of medicine, addressing the true causes of poor health will become even more important. Toward that end, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) is releasing recommendations for establishing Accountable Care Communities (ACCs).
Factors such as social and economic issues, environmental exposures, and behavior patterns, make up 60%-80% of risk for premature death. Throughout 2018, the NCIOM, with funding from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and The Duke Endowment, convened a task force aimed at helping communities across the state address these issues through the ACC model.
Early adopters have shown that bringing partners together across sectors can reduce health care use while improving outcomes. There are currently no ACCs in North Carolina, but groups like the Greensboro Housing Coalition are doing similar work and achieving results. Collaborative Cottage Grove is a multisector partnership in Greensboro focusing on principles of health equity and equal opportunity, with community residents guiding the work as the owners, planners, and decision-makers of the collective. The collaborative acknowledges past and current inequities in the community while providing a ground-up framework for change.
“The Cottage Grove neighborhood has seen positive environmental changes such as park enhancements and remediation, bike lane implementation, traffic calming, and plans for side walk implementation,” said Josie Williams, project coordinator of Greensboro Housing Coalition. “One of the biggest achievements is the rehabilitation and repair of the most dilapidated apartment complex in the area which also had a high prevalence of asthma cases in the community.”
The NCIOM ACC task force made 24 recommendations, spanning a broad range of issues from the readiness of organizations and systems to partner, to funding mechanisms and priorities for sustainability. The recommendations are described in detail in the NCIOM’s newly published report, Partnering to Improve Health: Developing Accountable Care Communities in North Carolina.
The NCIOM ACC task force was chaired by Mandy Cohen, Secretary for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services; Miles Atkins, Mayor of the Town of Mooresville and Director of Corporate Affairs & Government Relations at Iredell Health System; Reuben Blackwell, President & Chief Executive Officer of Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. and City Council Member in Rocky Mount, NC; and Ronald Paulus, President & CEO of Mission Health System. They were joined by 56 other task force and steering committee members, including legislators, state and local agency representatives, service providers, and community representatives.
The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) is an independent, quasi-state agency that was chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1983 to provide balanced, nonpartisan information on issues of relevance to the health of North Carolina’s population. For more information, visit www.nciom.org.