Health care in America is rapidly and dramatically transforming. Right before our eyes.
And the impact of these changes on individuals with limited resources is profound.
From understanding how “value-based payment” schemes work to learning about what really impacts health (hint: the answer lies far beyond the walls of a traditional clinic), everything we thought we knew about health care just a few years ago has changed.
How can you make sense of these systemic shifts, prepare for this new age of health care, and play a part in helping Charlotteans with limited resources adapt and hopefully thrive in this new world?
With support from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, and in partnership with local, state, and national experts and advocacy organizations, we created a guidebook to help you navigate this new age.
Our work on this project began back in 2019 as North Carolina prepared to embark on “Medicaid Transformation,” an effort hailed as “one of the country’s most ambitious efforts to transform how health care is defined and paid for.”
Late in 2019, lacking a new state budget, North Carolina pressed the “pause” button on formally launching an overhaul of its Medicaid program.
This shift in timing is in many ways a blessing, especially for the nonprofit agencies, community organizations, and health care provider networks across North Carolina that will in the very near term experience the direct impact of trying to shift more than 2 million North Carolinians on Medicaid into an entirely new system of care.
While this shift in Medicaid policy is on a temporary delay, changes in how health care is provided, paid for, and accessed in our country is in overdrive.
A number of major trends converged in recent years, bringing us to a pivotal moment and opportunity. If we can understand these changes and adapt to this new environment, we hold the possibility of dramatically improving the health and wellness of all of our residents, including our neighbors with limited resources.
Consider just a few of these key trends:
· Shift from a fee-for-service model of care to a system that incentivizes and pays providers based on good health outcomes. This shift is in high gear in the employer-based health insurance market – Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina expects that this year more than half of its beneficiaries will see a provider who is financially responsible for the quality of cost of care – and they expect this trend toward “value-based care” will accelerate.
· Location. Location. Location. Researchers teach us that your zip code may be more important than your genetic code in determining your overall health and wellness. Across Charlotte this finding has been put into practice. Consider the groundbreaking One Charlotte Health Alliance (a partnership of Atrium Health, Novant Health and Mecklenburg County). OCHA connects some of the highest poverty zip codes in Charlotte together, improving access to health services but also addressing other essential needs through mobile food pantries and much more.
I invite you to learn more about these and many other changes directly impacting individuals with limited resources by visiting our NC Health Guidebook online. This guidebook provides a host of resources and insights to help you understand and prepare for these changes happening in health care, and is the result of a collaboration between Care Ring and these partner agencies: Health Leads, NC Child, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, Next Stage Consulting, and UNC Charlotte.
We believe all human and social service agencies (not just traditional “health care clinics”), faith-based organizations, neighborhood associations, foundations, and perhaps most importantly individual beneficiaries and direct providers of care need to be fully aware of changes in our health care system.
As we continue our engagement across the region, we will update our blog, podcasts, and calendar of community events with additional information.
Author: Donald K. Jonas, PhD
Executive Director, Care Ring