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Community Health Network Foundation receives $2,560,494 from CMS to address unmet health-related social needs on east side of Indianapolis

For release on April 10, 2017

Grant aims to better connect individuals with community resources, improve health outcomes

Indianapolis, IN—Community Health Network Foundation recently received $2,560,494 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to address the unmet health-related social needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries on the east side of Indianapolis by bridging the gap between clinical and community service providers. Social needs include housing instability, food insecurity, utility needs, interpersonal violence and transportation.

Community is one of only 32 organizations in the country—and the only organization in the state—selected to receive the award, which is part of CMS’ three-prong Accountable Health Communities (AHC) model, consisting of Assistance, Alignment and Awareness Tracks. As an organization participating in the AHC Assistance Track, Community will now have the financial resources needed to improve clinical-community collaboration by screening high-risk beneficiaries, identifying social needs that may impact their health and connecting them with the right community resources that could help.

Specifically, CMS’ financial support will enable Community to partner with the Eastside Redevelopment Committee, an organization representing 50 businesses and community-based organizations focused on improving health through high-quality support services, educational programs and workforce development. In coordination with The Jane Pauley Community Health Center, Community Physician Network, Community Behavioral Health and Community Hospital East Emergency Department and inpatient care, they will serve residents on the east side with an intent to reduce health care costs for high-risk beneficiaries who receive navigation services. Work will begin under CMS guidance on May 1, 2017.

Funding, disbursed over a five-year period, is expected to impact more than 70,000 individuals on the east side of Indianapolis, where 40 percent of the population received Indiana Medicaid services in 2015 and the emergency room utilization rate is above the national average. In addition, a significant number of adults and children in this area live below the poverty line, and the average life expectancy is 7.5 years less than the north side of Indianapolis.

CMS recognizes that many of the largest drivers of health and health care costs fall outside the clinical care environment. Health-related social needs are critical drivers of unnecessary health care utilization and costs, but are often difficult for providers to address without support.

“We know that innovation at the state and community level is essential to improve health outcomes and lower costs. In this model, we will support community-based innovation to deliver local solutions that address a broader array of health-related needs of people across the country,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS Deputy Administrator for Innovation & Quality.

John Kunzer, MD, who is Senior Vice President and Regional Physician Executive for Community’s East Region, led the effort to secure the funding in conjunction with Community’s grants department beginning in early 2016.

“This funding is just another one of the many exciting things happening on Indianapolis’ east side,” he said. “The Accountable Health Communities model is a perfect fit with our mission to enhance the health and well-being of the communities we serve. It helps expand the definition of ‘health’ to include things such as access to food, adequate housing and social support systems. It will advance the collaborative efforts between Community Hospital East and our community partners to address well-being by moving care beyond the four walls of our hospital and doctors’ offices and into neighborhoods.”

Tim Hobbs, MD, MBA, and Community’s chief physician executive noted that CMS’ funding further deepens Community’s dedication to the east side, following the non-profit health system’s $175 million investment to build a brand new Community Hospital East that will be completed in 2019.

“The east side is where Community first put down roots,” he said. “By securing this grant, Community is reiterating once again our dedication to positive health outcomes for the men, women and children who live in this community today and those to come in the future. It is yet another example of our unwavering commitment to serving the east side and enhancing health and well-being.”

About Community Health Network Foundation
Community Health Network Foundation is the not-for-profit philanthropic organization of Community Health Network, Central Indiana’s leader in providing convenient access to exceptional healthcare services, where and when patients need them. Donations support patients, caregivers and Central Indiana communities. For more information about Community Health Network Foundation, call 317-355-GIVE or visit eCommunity.com/foundation.

Bridget Cleveland, Marketing and Communications Manager, Community Health Network Foundation
Bridget Cleveland
Marketing and Communications Manager, Community Health Network Foundation