Danbury Hospital Awarded Grant to Address Social and Health Care Needs

Norwalk Hospital
Murphy & Carr
CT Coalition to Align Systems and Connect People with Services Program to Improve Care

DANBURY, Connecticut - April 13, 2017 – Danbury Hospital, in conjunction with the Value Care Alliance hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), behavioral health and community organizations, has been chosen as one of 32 health systems in the nation to serve as a model for advanced integrated health services for Medicare and Medicaid patients. Danbury Hospital partnered with Norwalk, Griffin, Middlesex, and St. Vincent’s hospitals in developing this proposal, and will further collaborate in expanding this innovative model throughout their respective service areas across the state.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded Danbury Hospital a five year, $4.5 million grant to establish the CMS Accountable Health Communities Model, which aims to address health-related social needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. They were the only CT-based group to receive the prestigious, Track 3 “Alignment” designation.

Danbury Hospital, part of the Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) which includes New Milford and Norwalk Hospitals, will serve as the bridge organization for this collaboration. The Value Care Alliance hospitals and a broad consortium of health and community service providers created the Connecticut Coalition to Align Systems and Connect People with Services (CT CAPS) Program to expand existing interdisciplinary collaborations and to improve alignment between clinical and community service providers. 

WCHN, Griffin, St. Vincent’s, and Middlesex hospitals are partners in the Value Care Alliance, the largest collaboration of independent healthcare providers in Connecticut serving approximately 1.3 million patients in their combined communities.

“We are thrilled to receive this award and partner with Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation in addressing a critical gap between clinical care and community services in the current health care delivery system,” said John M. Murphy, MD, president and CEO of WCHN. “This impressive level of funding will support thoughtful gap analysis, enhanced navigation, and continuous quality improvement. CT CAPS will demonstrate the ability to form a sustainable and meaningful model to address the social determinants of health in our communities.”

Specifically, CT CAPS will screen 75,000 Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and direct them to appropriate services based on needs such as transportation, housing, food insecurity, access to utilities and domestic violence. The CT CAPS service area includes a diverse cross-section of demographic and socioeconomic groupings, including elderly, immigrant and low income.

Robert J. Carr, M.D., WCHN’s Vice-President for Clinical Transformation, will lead the effort in close collaboration with site directors at the partnering organizations. Dr. Carr shared that, “Health-related social needs, including hunger, homelessness, and poverty increase patients’ risk of developing chronic health conditions and limit their ability to adequately manage these conditions.” Despite the known health impact of unmet social needs, traditional reimbursement formulas, which focus on volume of services provided rather than on clinical outcomes, offer little incentive for change.

“CT CAPS presents a rare opportunity to align care, change payment models, and most importantly address patients’ social and health care needs to affect the type of sustainable change that is at the heart of the Accountable Health Communities initiative,” said Dr. Carr.