OSF HealthCare joins Medicaid project

OSF HealthCare and a group of the nation’s leading health systems are joining forces to identify, develop and scale financially sustainable solutions that improve health care for underserved individuals and families in their communities. The Medicaid Transformation Project is a national effort to transform health care and related social needs for the nearly 75 million Americans who rely on Medicaid. 

The work will focus on five critical challenges facing vulnerable populations across the country, four of which have already been identified: behavioral health, women and infant care, substance use disorder and avoidable emergency department visits. Solutions that meet the needs of this diverse population will improve care for all vulnerable populations.   

OSF HealthCare is joined by 16 of the nation’s most innovative health systems. Collectively, these 17 organizations share a common mission and sense of urgency to advance sustainable solutions that improve health for their diverse communities. Together, they span 21 states, 280 hospitals with more than 53,000 hospital beds and approximately $100 billion in combined annual revenues. 

The health systems will be able to better meet their communities’ needs through the proliferation and adoption of shared digital solutions and innovative care models. 

“OSF HealthCare has been working diligently over the past year to innovate around the factors that influence a population’s health,” said Michelle Conger, chief strategy officer for OSF HealthCare. “This unique partnership with like-minded and top-notch health care institutions participating in the Medicaid Transformation Project will quickly link us to solutions that we can test and possibly implement within our organization.” 

The full list of 17 health systems that have committed to transform health care by joining the Medicaid Transformation Project include:

  • Advocate Aurora Health, Chicago and Wisconsin 
  • Allina Health, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Ballad Health, Kingsport, Tenn. 
  • Baylor Scott & White Health, Dallas
  • Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, Del. 
  • Dignity Health, San Francisco
  • Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 
  • Geisinger, Danville, Pa.
  • Henry Ford Health System, Detroit
  • Memorial Hermann Health System, Houston 
  • Navicent Health, Macon, Ga.
  • OSF HealthCare, Peoria, Ill. 
  • Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Providence St. Joseph Health, Renton, Wash.
  • Rush University Medical Center, Chicago 
  • Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • UVA Health System, Charlottesville, Va.

The group’s efforts will be led by AVIA, the nation’s leading network for health systems seeking to innovate and transform by unlocking the power of digital, and Andy Slavitt, former acting administrator of CMS and founder and general partner at Town Hall Ventures.  The AVIA Innovator Network connects 30-plus action-oriented health systems across the nation. These health systems trust AVIA to help them identify, implement and scale the best digital solutions to support their strategic objectives. 

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 at providers across the country.”

All parties involved in the Medicaid Transformation Project agree the time to act is now. 

  • One in five Americans is covered by Medicaid
  • Fifty percent of U.S. births are financed by Medicaid
  • Medicaid is the country’s No. 1 payer for behavioral health services
  • Thirty-three cents of every dollar for a physician’s services are paid by Medicare/Medicaid

“We, at OSF HealthCare, understand that less than half of a person’s overall health is actually impacted by formalized medical care while a majority is determined by factors that are historically out of a health care system’s control,” said Ralph Velazquez, system chief medical officer, clinical excellence for OSF HealthCare. “While our OSF Innovation team is already working to solve for these issues such as food insecurity, living and social environments, transportation and others, we believe collaborating with those across our industry will bring us closer to meeting our goals.”

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

The true power of the project is its collective force, which will accelerate action. 

“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.” 

AVIA has tapped David Smith, formerly of Leavitt Partners, to lead the effort and has partnered with a number of leading Medicaid experts as active participants in the work, including Vikki Wachino, former deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Dr. Molly Coye, former commissioner of health for the state of New Jersey and director of the California Department of Health Services. 

“There is an incredible confluence of market and policy activity creating the right conditions to drive profound change for the least fortunate among us,” Smith said. “Our health system partners believe that this moment is unique and their leadership can have a seminal impact in catalyzing nationwide energy and focus on the challenges facing our communities.” 

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