The California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative has released its Request for Proposals, with funding available for up to six Accountable Communities for Health in California.  Funding for up to $250,000 is available for the first project year, with up to $300,000/year available for project years two and three.  The initiative is a partnership supported by The California Endowment, Blue Shield of California Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and the California Health and Human Services Agency, and administered by Community Partners.

An Accountable Community for Health is a multi-payer, multi-sector alliance of major health care systems, providers, and health plans, along with public health, key community and social services organizations, schools, and other partners serving a particular geographic area. An ACH is responsible for improving the health of the entire community, with particular attention to achieving greater health equity among its residents.

The goals of an ACH are to 1) improve personal and community-wide health outcomes and reduce disparities with regard to particular chronic diseases or health needs; 2) control costs associated with ill health; and, 3) through a self-sustaining Wellness Fund, develop financing mechanisms to sustain the ACH and provide ongoing investments in prevention and other system-wide efforts to improve population health.

Explicit in the design of the ACH is the coordination of a portfolio of aligned and mutually reinforcing interventions that span five key domains –  1) clinical, 2) community,                3) clinical-community linkages, 4) policy and systems, and 5) environment – in order to improve personal and population health. Moreover, the effort should pay particular attention to reducing health inequities, defined as focusing on the needs of, and gaining net positive impacts in, communities with populations most at risk for poor health outcomes.

Although an ACH would incorporate accountability as a key driver of change, it is distinguished from an accountable care organization (ACO) in two critical ways. As the name implies, an ACH’s focus is on 1) health, wellness, equity, and prevention—not just care; and 2) on an entire community, as opposed to just an organization’s enrollees or panel.

Proposals are due by April 29, 2016, with the projects to begin July 1, 2016.  Additional information and background documents are available on the Community Partners website.

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