Promoting the Integration and Coordination of Safety-Net Health Care Providers Under Health Reform: Key Issues

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The Affordable Care Act includes several provisions designed to encourage greater coordination and integration among health care providers, including the promotion of accountable care organizations and health homes. While much discussion has focused on how these strategies might be adopted by Medicare and private insurers, little attention has focused on their application among safety-net health care providers. Such providers face particular challenges in coordinating care for their low-income and uninsured patients, and no single approach is likely to meet their diverse needs. Successful efforts will require federal, state, and local financial resources to sustain the safety net and make the investments needed to upgrade capabilities. In addition, they will require flexible strategies that can accommodate variations in community and state needs.