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Vinfen Featured in National Health Care and Social Services Alignment Discussion

Policy makers, health care providers, and health insurance companies increasingly recognize the need to reduce health care costs and improve outcomes for high-cost, high-need populations. As a leading human services organization, Vinfen is uniquely positioned to address the social and behavioral health needs of the people health care organizations are focused on.

Vinfen’s Vice President of Integrated Care and Innovation Kim Shellenberger presented on this topic during a joint Chronicle of Philanthropy and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation webinar titled Aligning Health Care & Social Services: Insights for Grantmakers. Kim was joined by Northeastern University Professor Jean McGuire and Health Share of Oregon Chief Equity and Engagement Officer Michael Anderson-Nathe. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Hilary Heishman was the moderator.

Dr. McGuire presented the findings from a national research project that reviewed the state of the human services sector and promising models of health and human service collaborations to address social factors of health and ways to improve the health of populations.

Kim discussed one promising model: the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Community Partner (BHCP) program. The state of Massachusetts developed mechanisms for community-based organizations like Vinfen to work directly with MassHealth Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to coordinate care for people with serious mental illness and other types of disabilities. “Vinfen is participating in a unique Massachusetts state experiment that partners social service organizations with health care entities to coordinate care and address social needs for high cost/ high need enrollees in MassHealth, our state Medicaid program,” explained Kim.

Massachusetts is one of around a dozen states that have received special federal funding called the Delivery System Reform Incentive Program (DSRIP) to reform the Medicaid delivery system. Most DSRIP states, including Massachusetts, have used federal funding to create Medicaid ACOs that carried the responsibility of total cost of care and the improvement of health outcomes. Massachusetts is the only state however that also used DSRIP funding, over $500 million, to invest in community-based organizations providing care coordination. “Vinfen is in a Community Partner consortium with six other organizations called Community and LTSS Care Partners and is working with 14 MassHealth ACOs,” Kim added.

Vinfen’s Community Partner programs are serving nearly 2,500 people. In July of 2018, Vinfen created five regional teams (Boston, Somerville, Lowell, Lawrence, Plymouth/Cape Cod) and hired around 50 staff who serve as Clinical Care Managers and Care Coordinators. Although the Community Partner program is only 14 months old, it is already showing great results.

Vinfen’s Community Partner staff have facilitated access to medical services for people who have had challenges navigating the system. They arranged for transportation and other types of services in the home to allow people to live more independently. Staff have worked with hospital staff to support people leaving the hospital as well as worked with primary care doctors to ensure people are taking the right medications. “We are pleased that this program is receiving recognition by the national funding community. We believe that human service organizations like Vinfen have significant expertise to bring to health care,” Kim concluded.