Big Changes are Coming for Health and Human Services

Transformation. Integration. Collaboration. These three buzz words are changing the face of health and human services. Earlier this year, Washington State, home to some of the most innovative and transformational efforts in the nation, released their health care innovation plan. The plan identifies three core strategies to improve health and healthcare while lowering costs:

  1. Improve how we pay for services;
  2. Ensure health care focuses on the whole person; and
  3. Build healthier communities through a collaborative regional approach known as Accountable Communities of Health (ACH).

In support of this third strategy, King County is convening a cross-sector, community-based partnership structure to address our significant health, social and racial disparities. Based on the premise that no single sector or organization can create lasting change in health and health care alone, ACH will provide the framework for coordination between clinical, community, and government partners.¬†Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD)¬†is a key partner in ACH planning efforts which will begin this summer in preparation for a 2015 launch.

The Accountable Communities of Health is just one of the innovative planning efforts taking place in King County. The King County Health and Human Services Transformation Plan charts a five year course to affect real change, both at the community and individual levels.

To impact community level change, one-time funding is now available to support system, policy and practice change efforts that decrease inequity in the areas where health, housing, and economic opportunity intersect. Later this fall, the county in partnership with the Seattle Foundation will release multi-year investments targeted to specific geographic communities.

One strategy to impact individual level change is to improve health and social outcomes for adults with complex health and social challenges. The Medicaid-Medicare Duals Demonstration Project is an opportunity where organizations and payers are collaborating to improve outcomes for those with complex needs. Aging and Disability Services along with King County Department of Community and Human Services and Public Health – Seattle & King County are working side by side with managed care organizations (MCOs) to design a new coordinated service delivery system. The two MCOs, Regence and UnitedHealth, will assume all risk for the medical and behavioral health and long-term care of 36,000 dual-eligibles beginning April 2015. ADS will continue to provide quality case management for the MCOs while embracing their new role in achieving better health outcomes.

Transformation. Integration. Collaboration. Washington, King County, and HSD will use these three concepts to change the face of health and human services resulting in better health and better care at a lower cost.