Katharine Witgert, Catherine Hess
K. Witgert and C. Hess, Including Safety-Net Providers in Integrated Delivery Systems: Issues and Options for Policymakers, The Commonwealth Fund and The National Academy for State Health Policy, August 2012.
Health care reform legislation has spurred efforts to develop integrated health care delivery systems that seek to coordinate the continuum of health services. These systems may be of particular benefit to patients who face barriers to accessing care or have multiple health conditions. But it remains to be seen how safety-net providers, including community health centers and public hospitals—which have long experience in caring for these vulnerable populations—will be included in integrated delivery systems. This issue brief explores key considerations for incorporating safety-net providers into integrated delivery systems and discusses the roles of state and federal agencies in supporting and testing models of integrated care delivery. The authors conclude that the most important principles in creating integrated delivery systems for vulnerable populations are: 1) an emphasis on primary care; 2) coordination of all care, including behavioral, social, and public health services; and 3) accountability for population health outcomes.