The AHE Learning Collaborative (LC) is a teams-based approach to advancing health equity. Over the course of two years, teams comprised of state Medicaid agencies, Medicaid health plans, and health care delivery organizations work to design health care delivery reforms supported by tailored payment models to reduce health disparities. The teams also strive to address social determinants of health in their effort to generate sustainable practices and policy recommendations for national dissemination.
Health equity is when everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires improving access to the conditions and resources that strongly influence health. Health equity for groups who have been excluded or marginalized requires a focused commitment to eliminating health disparities, which are the differences in health outcomes.
People from communities of color and others granted less social power and privilege tend to receive lower quality care, resulting in poorer health outcomes. Research has demonstrated that this disparity persists even when access to care is equal. Individuals experiencing multiple, simultaneous systems of oppression tend to live with more and wider health inequities. Despite overall improvements in population health over time, many health disparities have persisted, and some have even widened.
Advancing health equity requires a focused commitment to eliminating preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, and opportunities to achieve optimal health experienced by racial, ethnic, and other population groups and communities. It also requires acknowledging and addressing racism and other forms of structural discrimination and oppression as a root cause of these differences.
Aligning health care payment and quality improvement activities across organizations with an intentional focus on equity can help address systemic health disparities in the United States.
The Medicaid program, because of the population it serves and its size, provides an ideal opportunity to improve health equity. Through a variety of approaches, including Medicaid payment models designed to support equity-focused care transformation, Advancing Health Equity aims to create a strong business case to sustainably reduce disparities and advance equity in the quality of patient care and health outcomes, and address critical gaps in care that put many communities at a much higher risk of illness and mortality.
The collaborative nature of this project makes it possible to engage key stakeholders including state Medicaid agencies, Medicaid managed care organizations, and clinical providers that are all critical to advancing these models and approaches. Including these partners in state-based initiatives helps ensure alignment toward a common goal and allows policy and operational transformation to occur in tandem.
The inaugural LC cohort is comprised of seven state teams: Delaware, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington. In 2023, AHE welcomed five new LC teams from: the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Pennsylvania. Each team receives technical assistance from AHE in the form of equity-focused education and training, team-specific guidance, and larger all-cohort meetings.
Click here for AHE’s Technical Assistance guide, a resource for LC teams that describes the purpose of technical assistance (TA), what types of TA the AHE team can provide, and the process for using TA.
Click here for more information on the AHE All-Team Convening held virtually in January 2023.