Accountable Communities for Health (ACHs) are multi-sector, community-based partnerships that aim to address community health and social needs, and Community Health Centers (CHCs) provide important community-based healthcare services for underserved and medically vulnerable populations. Given the critical role that both ACHs and CHCs play in addressing health-related social needs and social determinants of health, a survey of ACHs on CHC engagement was conducted to better understand opportunities and challenges for CHC participation in ACHs. This survey, along with follow-up conversations with ACH and CHC representatives, confirmed that ACHs and CHCs are natural partners in the effort to advance community health by building multi-sector coalitions that address health-related social needs and social determinants of health. A majority of ACHs that responded to the survey reported CHC participation in their ACH under contract or other formal engagement, and CHCs frequently participate in ACH governance. Despite this level of participation, however, the research also revealed that the nature of this participation varies greatly, and strong partnerships do not always exist. This may be less because the ACHs and CHCs do not share the same vision for a community’s health, and more because of a need to build relationships, provide financial incentives, remove practical obstacles, and better define the shared value of such partnerships.
The issue brief is available here.