This report from the National Association of Counties profiles two county-level innovations in health care delivery, highlighting the Accountable Care Communities (ACCs) in Summit County, OH and Live Well San Diego in San Diego County, CA. ACCs expand the capacity of the public and private sectors by aligning their programs, services and workforce to address the community’s needs. ACCs are a promising model because they mobilize the entire community to address one specific goal or multiple goals such as obesity, education, safe streets and/or economic vitality. The involvement of all facets of the community – from economic development to schools to safety-net hospitals – through partnerships also stresses the shared responsibility of all partners.
Summit County, Ohio, is home to the first ACC in the nation, and has experienced significant changes in the lives of some of its county residents. Of note, a reduction in the average cost per month for providing services to diabetics and increased reports of exercise and weight loss for individuals living with diabetes. Summit County’s preliminary results also emphasize the importance of using partnerships to improve health. As part of its initiative to connect public lands with public health, members of the ACC identified an underserved neighborhood with no public trans- portation access to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is partially located in Summit County. Working with the Akron Metropolitan Transportation System, the ACC was able to establish a new bus line and connect members of the underserved community to the park.
San Diego County’s ACC is part of a multi-year plan, Live Well San Diego, to promote a healthy, safe and thriving region. One objective of the San Diego ACC is to reduce obesity rates among children. The county has experienced reduced rates of overweight/obese children through its partnerships with schools, farms, businesses and other organizations.