Old Forest with Douglas Fir with direct sun

Understanding Washington’s Healthcare System

Learn more about the Plan for Healthier Washington, a broad collaborative regional approach to healthcare transformation that seeks to improve payment for services, ensure whole-person healthcare, and build healthier communities. This plan helps motivate much of AHECWW’s work.

The Plan for Healthier Washington has divided the state into nine Accountable Communities of Health. These ACH’s are bringing leaders together from across the state and across health sectors in order to better align resources and efforts that will improve whole-person care.

Accountable Communities of Health (ACH)
Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs) bring together leaders from multiple health sectors around the state with a common interest in improving health and health equity. As ACHs better align resources and activities, they support wellness and a system that delivers care for the whole person. Primary goals of the ACHs also include: promoting health equity throughout Washington state, collaborating on health improvement plans, and supporting value-based medical care.
There are nine ACH whose boundaries align with Washington’s Medicaid regional service areas. ACHs reported progress toward approved project plans across the state as of November 2017. (source: https://www.hca.wa.gov/about-hca/healthier-washington)

The Center for Community Health and Evaluation (cche.org), a project of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, has conducted an evaluation of the ACH model. Their January 2019 report, “Regional Collaboration for Health System Transformation: An Evaluation of Washington’s Accountable Communities of Health” documents the work and successes of the ACHs and provides useful lessons for other states.

In service of the goal of the Plan for Healthier Washington to provide more whole-person care, the integration of behavioral health treatment with primary care will take place over the coming years. This is called Practice Transformation and is a driving force behind changes to Washington’s healthcare system and the work of the AHECWW. Also included in the move toward whole-person care is the changing of the service reimbursement model from volume-based to Value-Based Payment.