HealthierHere Community Hub
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Organizations and Agencies
What is the Medicaid Transformation Project (aka MTP or Medicaid Waiver)?
The Medicaid Transformation Project (MTP) is Washington State's Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waiver between the Health Care Authority (HCA) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). MTP allows our state to create and continue to develop projects, activities, and services that improve Washington’s health care system.
On June 30, 2023, CMS approved MTP to continue for five more years. Our state's MTP renewal, called MTP 2.0, will help widen our reach to provide more programs, services, and supports to our most vulnerable populations. Learn more about MTP and the MTP waiver renewal.
Through MTP, Washington State has nine designated Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs) which are independent, regional organizations. HealthierHere serves as the ACH for King County. ACHs work with their communities on specific health care and social needs-related projects and activities, and are committed to ensuring community needs, values, and priorities guide system transformation.
ACHs play an integral role in Washington’s MTP efforts. Although MTP 1.0 was Medicaid-focused, ACHs are working in many ways to improve the health of their communities as a whole. Learn more about ACHs.
How is MTP 2.0 different from 1.0?
MTP 2.0 is more prescribed in its structure and its scope is narrower. MTP 2.0’s theme is “Taking action for healthier communities.” In part, it will accelerate care delivery and payment innovation focused on health-related social needs (HRSNs) and equity through:
- Community-based care coordination hubs – aka “Community Hub”
- Community-based workforce
- Funding for Health-Related Social Needs Services (HRSNs)
- Statewide Tribal Hub (led by HCA)
- Re-entry for short-term pre and post release services from corrections settings
- Health Equity programs (TBD)
ACHs’s roles are now focused on building and serving as regional Community Hubs that deliver case management services and health-related social needs (HRSN) benefits to the community. Community Hub funding will support capacity building for delivery of services provided by contracted Case Management Partners and HRSN service providers.
See a graphic overview of the components of MTP 2.0.
Under MTP 1.0, ACHs had flexibility and autonomy to choose projects and approaches, and how to invest funds. Its scope was broad, and HealthierHere largely provided flexible funds for community, clinical, and Tribal partners to invest in capacity building and developing infrastructure to advance whole person integrated care through deliverable based contracts. Through partnership, collaboration, and innovation, HealthierHere and our partners developed promising practices and shared learning through convenings and webinars.
Why the focus on Community-Based Care Coordination?
Community-based care coordination (CBCC) is defined as “Deliberately organizing patient care activities and sharing information among all the participants involved with a patient’s care to achieve safer and more effective care” (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality).” Throughout MTP 1.0, our clinical and community partners consistently identified care coordination transformation work as a high area of need. HCA also identified community-based care coordination as a core strategy for improving the health of Medicaid enrollees.
CBCC also emerged as an area of high potential for ACHs to have actionable impact with positionality to be a neutral convener, build trusted relationships with regional partners, steward regional funding, and provide training, technical assistance (TA), and quality improvement (QI) support.
The work is a continuation of HealthierHere’s broadening care coordination efforts, building on our work through the Care Connect Washington Program, Connect2 Community Information Exchange, and Shared Care Planning.
What are Health Related Social Needs (HRSNs) and why are they important?
Health Related Social Needs (HRSNs) refer to the social and economic needs people experience that affect their ability to maintain their health and well-being. They include things like housing instability, food insecurity, employment and income, lack of transportation, and more.
HRSNs differ from the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), which are the social and economic conditions in which people grow, work, play, live, worship and age, that contribute to health and quality of life outcomes. These conditions are shaped by distribution of money, power, and resource and are related to factors like institutional bias, discrimination, structural racism, and more.
HRSNs can be understood as more immediate individual or family needs stemming from SDOH. By addressing HRSNs and SDoH, we can advance health equity and reduce health disparities, which are core to HealthierHere’s mission. It can also reduce health care utilization and costs. The Community Hub will provide case management services addressing HRSNs to anyone that needs help and assistance. Medicaid enrollees may be eligible for specific HRSN benefits depending on their diagnosis and treatment plan.
What is the HealthierHere Community Hub?
Under MTP 2.0, a Community Hub is a community-centered entity that organizes and supports a collective of Hub Case Management partners providing case management services and connecting people to health-related social needs services and benefits. Its key functions include supporting:
- Community voice and engagement
- Sustainability and business operations
- Funding for Health-Related Social Needs Services (HRSNs)
- Care coordination operations and reporting
- Network management and capacity building
- Community-based workforce support
A hub centralizes administrative and operational functions/infrastructure including:
- Contracting with Case Management Partners
- Payment operations
- Managing and assigning referrals
- Service delivery compliance
- Technology infrastructure
- Information security
- Data collection and reporting
- Training/TA/QI support
HealthierHere’s Hub includes community-based and clinical organizations, and agencies that receive referrals from the Hub to provide care coordination services to community members. The Hub honors and leverages the capacity of local community-based and healthcare organizations to provide culturally responsive services to community through a workforce that reflects the diversity of the community.
The HealthierHere Community Hub is a centralized (but not single) place of coordination for referral to community-based resources. The Hub will provide warm handoffs to connect people to clinical care when needed, in partnership with Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) for their Medicaid enrollees.
Who will the Hub serve?
Rooted in an equity-centered model, the Community Hub will serve the whole community in King County through case management services, moving beyond just the Medicaid population. We recognize that many communities aren’t Medicaid eligible but still have a need for care coordination/case management support, and people cycle on and off Medicaid. The Hub provides a “no wrong door” approach that is consistent with HealthierHere’s values.
The total eligible Medicaid population in King County includes over 471,000 individuals, including over 171,200 child managed care eligible enrollees. This also encompasses over 77,700 total Medicaid Fee for Service (FFS) members, including over 12,000 child FFS members.
In serving our whole community including the full Medicaid population, HealthierHere provides support and services that cater to diverse populations based on age, race/ethnicity, and preferred languages.
What services does the Community Hub provide?
The Hub’s services are divided into two main categories:
- Resource navigation
- Referrals to meet health-related social needs (HRSNs)
These services are the core of community-based care coordination. Case management services are available for everyone, regardless of their Medicaid eligibility. HealthierHere will use the Per Member Per Month rate we receive for all Medicaid clients (Managed Care and Fee for Service) to pay for these services.
Health-Related Social Needs Benefits
- Payment from Medicaid for a service that meets a clinically indicated health related social need for a defined population.
The populations, services, and protocols for HRSN benefits are still being finalized by HCA. Examples of the types of potential HRSN benefits in MTP 2.0 include the following:
- Nutrition supports (including medically tailored meals, nutrition counseling, health meal prep, pantry stocking, short-term grocery delivery).
- Housing supports, such as recuperative care and short-term post hospitalization housing, housing transition navigation services and deposits
- Community transition services (including non-medical transportation and personal care/homemaker services)
- Stabilization center
- Caregiver respite services
- Medically necessary environmental accessibility and remediation adaptations (home repairs)
These benefits can be provided alongside case management. The Community Hub will provide these benefits for Medicaid FFS members with a demonstrated clinical need. Medicaid MCO members can access these services through their MCO plan. We expect the populations, services, and protocols for HRSN benefits to be finalized by early 2024.
How will this benefit our communities?
The HealthierHere Community Hub’s role is to connect, coordinate and create collaboration in the community on behalf of people who need support (outside of clinical care). The services and supports provided through the Hub will help community members more easily connect to the supports and resources that support their whole-person health and well-being.
In addition, the Hub will bring in significant financial resources to our communities through the MTP 2.0 funding mechanism. We have the opportunity to support the community-based workforce on a larger scale than we have been able to before. We hope to move this important work on a pathway to financial sustainability longer term.
How does the Hub contribute to HealthierHere’s broader vision?
HealthierHere is committed to transforming our health and social systems to more effectively and equitably serve our communities. The Community Hub is a unique opportunity to “be the system change” that we want to see. In designing the HealthierHere Hub, we will center community voices, lived experiences, and priorities to create a system for people, by people.
The Hub is one piece of our larger system transformation efforts and advances the goals of our communities. Successful launch and implementation of the Hub is imperative to achieving our broader vision where all people in King County are healthy and achieve their optimal physical, mental and social well-being.
Through the Hub, we aim to create a model that is within the parameters the federal government and state have given us that moves the system beyond the grant-to-grant cycle toward an equitable, sustainable structure.
What don’t we know yet about MTP 2.0?
HealthierHere is currently waiting on further details from HCA and CMS regarding the following items:
- As of now, we do not know which HRSN benefits will be approved and for which specific populations (to be determined using a phased approach).
- Mechanisms by which care coordinators and/or the Hub can verify clinical indication for HRSN benefits.
- How HealthierHere will be able to resource organizations for infrastructure needed to participate as a Hub Case Management Partner.
- The structure of the contracts for Case Management Partners, as well as performance metrics expected to be achieved.
- How the re-entry program will be structured and administered (2025).
We will update this FAQ as we learn more about each of these items and include updates in our outreach and engagement opportunities. If you have additional questions, please contact the HealthierHere’s Community Hub Director, Tavish Donahue (she/her), at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can organizations partner with the HealthierHere Community Hub?
Interested organizations can partner as a:
Hub Case Management Partner: organizations that contract with HealthierHere to receive client referrals and to provide case management services
Hub HRSN Benefit Partner: organizations that contract with HealthierHere to receive reimbursement for providing approved HRSN benefits to Medicaid FFS Hub clients
Hub Referral Partner: agencies who refer clients to the Hub for services and/or accept referrals from the Hub’s Case Management Partners for HRSN services
What qualifications does my organization need to have to become a contracted Case Management Partner with the Hub?
HealthierHere will be looking for a combination of organizations to become Case Management Partners for Cohort 1 to provide an estimated 40 FTE of CHWs/care coordinators. Community Hub services are estimated to begin in July of 2024. A certain amount of organizations interested in becoming Hub Case Management Partners who are not ready to join Cohort 1 will have opportunities to participate in the future.
Organizations not interested or not eligible to become Case Management Partners may still become Community Hub partners by referring potential clients for intake, accepting referrals for services, and/or becoming HRSN Benefit Partners.
Potential Case Management Partners ready to join Cohort 1 will have some or all of the following characteristics:
- Serves a priority population
- Has expertise in a priority HRSN service area
- Organizational leadership is willing to commit time and resources to Hub programming and C2C integration
- Organization has the technical readiness to adopt C2 Coordinator and potentially integrate its existing technology system in the future
- Currently provides services in which information is collected and protected in accordance with HIPAA. The organization has policies and procedures related to privacy and information security, including consent for data collection and sharing, and tracking and responding to information security incidents
- Organization is a leader in King County, who holds trust with partners and community members
- Frontline staff are interested and ready to participate
- Organization’s mission and strategic plan align with goals of the Community Hub and Connect2 Community Information Exchange
- Has available care coordination FTE to dedicate to the Community Hub, or is committed to hiring staff by May 2024 to be ready for training
- Has experience providing care coordination services
- Has worked with HealthierHere in the past
What is the Connect2 Community Information Exchange and what is its role in the Hub?
HealthierHere’s Connect2 Community Information Exchange (Connect2 CIE) includes a network of organizations and technology that supports interoperable data exchange. This has been co-designed with community, Tribal, and health care partners to help service provider organizations build relationships and access and exchange information so your organization can effectively and quickly coordinate care for your clients across systems.
By joining the Connect2 CIE, Community Hub Case Management partners will be able to access an up-to-date resource directory, make closed loop referrals, and share information across health care and social service providers.
HealthierHere will be looking for community-based and clinical organizations to join our first cohort of Case Management partners. The Community Hub will be supported by HealthierHere’s Connect2 CIE. Case Management partners will join this by adopting the technology interface Connect2 Coordinator as their Client Management System (CMS) for Hub work. Case Management partners will also have the option of integrating their existing technology system over time. Cohort 1 Case Management Partners will participate in a period of infrastructure and capacity building and CIE integration to prepare for service delivery in July 2024.
What is the timeline for launching the Hub under MTP 2.0?
1) Early engagement to identify interested Community Hub partners
2) Survey opened to organizations interested in being a Cohort 1 CCA
1) CMS protocols finalized (answering current unknowns)
2) Additional engagement opportunities for potential Cohort 1 CCA applicants including overviews of key capacities that Case Management Partners will need to have in place and demos of the Connect2 Coordinator client management system (CMS)
3) Cohort 1 CCA application & selection process
CCA infrastructure/capacity building & integration (includes co-design of some Hub protocols)
CIE & CMS training for Case Management Partners to prepare for service delivery
Launch the HealthierHere Community Hub and begin referrals*
*An early version of the Healthier Community Hub has existed since 2022 to offer the Care Connect Washington Program, which initially focused on supporting people who have tested positive for COVID-19, and currently provides care coordination to support anyone in King County to recover from the long-term effects of the pandemic.
How do I learn more about partnering with the HealthierHere Community Hub?
HealthierHere will be hosting monthly hybrid coffee hours for organizations that are interested in learning more and asking questions about the HealthierHere Community Hub. If you would like to attend in person you can find Tavish and/or Abriel at the Dubsea Coffee in White Center from 10-11am the 2nd Friday of each month or join over Zoom.
9910 8th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106
Or register for the Zoom link below.
Please visit www.healthierhere.org/our-work/community-hub for more information.
If you have additional questions, please contact the HealthierHere’s Community Hub Director, Tavish Donahue (she/her), at email@example.com.