The Denver Regional Council of Governments received a five-year award from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in the amount of $4.51 million in May 2017 to implement the Accountable Health Communities (AHC)
model. The model seeks data to show connecting people with community-based services improves health outcomes and decreases health care costs. The AHC will work with Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in Denver, Arapahoe, Adams, Douglas, Jefferson, and Broomfield counties.
The AHC program collaborates with five clinical partners who assess their clients’ health-related social needs in the areas of living situation, transportation, food, utilities, and safety. Clients are eligible for navigation services through the DRCOG AHC if they have at least one of these needs and have had at least two emergency room visits in the past 12 months. If they have needs in four or more areas they are referred to the DRCOG’s community resource navigators for more extensive assistance. Resource navigators connect people with community based-services to address their needs in the manner they prefer.
Over the course of the grant, DRCOG will collect data and engage in a quality improvement plan to streamline and improve the process for screening and referring people from clinical settings to community settings, integrate and align clinical and community health providers, and improve understanding of the value and impact of community services on healthcare costs and health outcomes. This data will also be used to identify areas where gaps exist that create barriers to efficient access to community-based services. The AHC will continue its work beyond the initial grant period to increase funding for community-based services and foster healthy communities in the Denver region.