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A conceptual framework for addressing social needs through the Accountable Health Communities model

L. Highfield, G. Ferguson, R. Walsh, C. Paret, D. Ganelin, K.O. Hwang, R. Morgan
Am J Accountable Care

Objectives: To present a conceptual framework to address social needs through accountable health programs in the United States. We present our implementation of the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model as an example. Study Design: Conceptual framework and case study. Methods: Our conceptual framework of the AHC Model is adapted from the UK Rainbow Model of Integrated Care for the US health care context based on current literature. Our approach is further underpinned by Medical Research Council guidance on intervention development stages, recent framework development in intervention coproduction, and quality improvement methods. Results: Our team used the adapted framework coupled with Medical Resource Council stages for intervention development to create a program scope and sequence. Standard operating procedures and an implementation plan were created and approved by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Implementation was successfully launched at 13 clinical delivery sites and completed screenings of more than 10,000 patients have been done to date. Conclusions: Our conceptual framework, which we are applying as a bridge organization in the AHC Model, can serve as a model that organizations can use to successfully design interventions to address social needs in clinical care settings in the United States. Further application and testing of the framework are warranted to advance understanding of social needs interventions in the United States.

Highfield L, Ferguson G, Walsh R, Paret C, Ganelin D, Hwang KO, Morgan R. A conceptual framework for addressing social needs through the Accountable Health Communities model. Am J Accountable Care. 2020;8(4):15-23. Available online.

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