University-Community Partnership Will Address Medicaid Transformation Plan

07/15/19 – The College of Health and Human Services at the University of North Carolina Wilmington  is pleased to announce that their Center for Healthy Communities has received grant funding from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. This funding, totaling $583,000, will support rural health departments in navigating the state’s Medicaid transformation plan. The purpose of the project, led by Leah Mayo, Center for Healthy Communities Coordinator, is to support Bladen, Columbus and Robeson counties in preparing for a successful transition into a value-­based model of care. Value-based healthcare is a model in which providers are paid based on services provided and rewarded for improved patient outcomes. This model incentivizes providers to provide quality care to reduce chronic disease and improve quality of life for patients.

Father and child eating healthy"Our health departments play a critical role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of our communities. Creating the conditions for health department staff and their community partners to learn, plan and adapt to the transitioning healthcare system will benefit all residents in this region of the state,” says Dr. Ashley Wells, assistant dean for community engagement for the College of Health and Human Services.

The project will support health departments by assessing their capacity and resource needs for the implementation of new policies and procedures related to Medicaid and value-based care. Of the opportunity to assist health departments with the changing landscape of Medicaid, Mayo says, “This project will be instrumental in surfacing what we know and don’t know about how health departments will be impacted by these changes. Collaborative learning environments across counties will work to assess and identify what is needed to achieve success and continue providing quality care to our underserved, rural populations.”

“As our state advances on the goal of paying for health, instead of just health care it will have far-reaching impacts on organizations as well as people and communities throughout the region,” said Katie Eyes, Senior Program Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. “We’re excited to be partnering with the Center and local health departments as they are on the frontlines of this transition, leading efforts in service of the health of those living in Bladen, Columbus, and Robeson counties.” 

An interprofessional team of faculty from UNC Wilmington will collaborate with the Center for Healthy Communities, including Dr. Kristin Bolton (social work), Dr. Sabrina Cherry (public health) and Dr. Kristen Devall (sociology). Aligning with UNC Wilmington’s strategic priorities, mission and values, this project supports the commitment to service and creating mutually-beneficial community and university partnerships.

Founded in 2013, the Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) fosters collaborations that address community-identified issues of interest to improve the health and well-being of communities in Southeastern North Carolina. The CHC connects faculty, staff and students with community agencies to provide the following services: Community Collaborative Support, Community Health and Human Services Assessment and Program Evaluation, and Applied Scholarship and Learning.

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust was established in 1947 and is now one of the largest private trusts in North Carolina. Our mission is to improve the health and quality of life of financially-disadvantaged residents in North Carolina. The Health Improvement in North Carolina program area supports community-wide health solutions across the state. The Local Impact in Forsyth County program area fosters equitable and sustainable solutions to improve the quality of life in Forsyth County. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. serves as sole trustee.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is an independent, charitable foundation with the mission of improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians. Since its founding in 2000, the organization has  invested $136 million in North Carolina communities through more than 1,000 grants.