BRISTOL, VA (WJHL) – Mountain States Health Alliance announced Tuesday morning that they are one of 32 organizations nationally that were chosen to lead a new program launched by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Mountain States received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund their collaboration with local community service providers to address patients’ health-related social needs.

These partnerships will deal with issues such as housing instability, food insecurity and unreliable transportation arrangements among Medicare and Medicaid recipients.

MSHA Vice President of Strategic Planning Allison Rogers said they will be screening over 75,000 patients each year over the next 4 years.

“We’re going to cover 11 counties in Southwest Virginia and the two localities of Bristol city and Norton city,” Rogers said. “So all the Medicaid and Medicare patients that come into our participating hospitals and doctor’s offices for certain conditions, they’ll all be screened and then the ones that are identified as high-risk will actually get the navigation services.”

Mountain States will lead a collaboration of several area organizations to bridge the gap between clinical and community service providers. This effort includes:

  • Eight inpatient facilities and 12 physician offices of Mountain States
  • Five inpatient facilities and 15 physician offices of Wellmont Health System
  • Frontier Health
  • Cumberland Mountain Community Services Board
  • Dickenson Behavioral Health Services
  • Highlands Community Services Board
  • Mount Rogers Community Services Board
  • Planning District One Behavioral Health Services

Rogers said these partnerships will bring a new effectiveness to health care in Southwest Virginia.

“The local community services boards have a lot of resources,” Rogers said. “They are very ingrained in their communities. They know what community support services are out there. We don’t necessarily have as much of that knowledge and so I think this is a great partnership where we identify what those needs are and then they’re helping to be able to connect patients with those community services.”

The rest of 2017 will be spent preparing to put this program into action and the first screenings of Medicare and Medicaid recipients will begin January 1, 2018.Copyright 2017 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.