Illustration of collaboration concept - A group of health care professionals and specialists are sitting around a table discussing ideas, facts, statistics and strategies.

Health equity is a high strategic priority across many health care organizations, including the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). According to the National Association of Accountable Care Organizations (NAACOs), “Total cost of care models, such as ACOs, are incentivized to improve quality while controlling costs, and the upfront investments that ACOs make in health information technology (IT) and infrastructure to provide coordinated care make them uniquely poised to address health inequities.” OneCare Vermont, which partners with over 5,000 health care providers across the state, is one such ACO committed to addressing these inequities for Vermonters.

Dr. Alicia Jacobs, physician leader for OneCare Vermont, leads the organization’s Health Equity and Access workgroup. As a primary care provider in Vermont, Dr. Jacobs is dedicated to the mission of OneCare to improve the quality of care for Vermonters, and that includes taking a population health approach to addressing health disparities. As Dr. Jacobs puts it, “What’s novel about OneCare is it creates opportunities to collaborate across health care organizations and with community partners. This in turn can create shared goals where we are all rowing in the same direction.”

OneCare’s Health Equity and Access workgroup provides a space for medical providers and population health leaders to co-create goals to advance the health of all Vermonters. To advance health equity, the groups goals are to:

  • Apply data-informed population health interventions for Vermonters who suffer from health care disparities.
  • Design an innovative pilot for community-based health access to care and education in one or more rural Vermont communities that meet criteria for decreased access to care by the end of 2024.

OneCare allows providers to use claims data to look at the full scope of care their patients receive across the continuum of care. The workgroup has collected data on access to care for and the challenges in identifying rural areas that are high in social inequities. From this data, they identified disparities in breast cancer screenings, emergency department visits, and referrals to specialists as opportunities for improvement among specific racial and ethnic groups. The workgroup has also proposed population health strategies that OneCare will use to increase equitable access to care.

Based on the population data, Dr. Jacobs and her research team are conducting a qualitative study to understand provider level strategies to improve equity in care and population health. Progress on this study will be presented both regionally and nationally this fall.

For more information

Please contact Public Affairs at OneCare Vermont. | 802-847-1346

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