Accountable Care Community: Shared Accountability for the Health of a Community

Anupa IyerJanine Janosky, PhD. is being honored as a Champion of Change for helping Americans live healthier lives, reduce disease and contribute to lowering health care costs by focusing communities on public health and prevention.

I am Vice President at the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) and head the Center for Community Health Improvement.   I lead a multi-institution collaboration known as the Accountable Care Community (ACC).  It expands the concept of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). This ACC initiative positively impacts the health of the local community and serves as a national model for collaborative, integrated, multi-institutional approach that emphasizes shared responsibility for the health of the entire community. 

Our Accountable Care Community initiative is supported through a Community Transformation Grant from the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund.  The Community Transformation Grant program, created by the health care law, supports innovative community-level efforts to collaborate to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Through the ACC, we have been successful in improving the health of those in our community by promoting healthier lifestyles through disease prevention and health promotion, reducing chronic disease, increasing access, and improving health equity. The ACC impacts population health by lessening the burden of disease, thus reducing health costs, and improving lives. One of the first ACC public health efforts was to zero in on diabetes since approximately 11 percent of adults in Akron have diabetes. In just 18 months we are already seeing positive result from the programs: More than half of participants lost weight, decreased body mass index (BMI), and reduced waist size; the average cost per month of care for individuals with diabetes was reduced by more than 10 percent per month, saving the program $3,185 per person annually; and we saw a drop in diabetes-related Emergency Department visits.

The multi-institutional partners within the ACC are diverse and include Akron Children's Hospital, Akron General Health System, Summa Health System, The University of Akron, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Summit County Public Health, Community Legal Aid, Akron Metropolitan Housing Association, Akron Public Library, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, United Way, Akron Urban League, and over 60 other community organizations, institutions, and agencies. The ACC framework improves population health through community and practice-based interventions for primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention and care management for chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, and others.

The ACC serves as a national model by providing and managing health and patient care across different institutions, expanding the efficiency of budgets and resource needs and uses while creating methods to monitor and evaluate health and performance indicators. The ACC is aligned with the integration of public health and healthcare, namely the movement toward population health.

Janine Janosky, Ph.D., serves as Vice President and Senior Fellow for the Center for Community Health Improvement at the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, Ohio. The Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA) is leading a community-based integrated health and wellness initiative.


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