Network Spotlight: Community Care Alliance

December 2016
Community Care Alliance

Community Care Alliance board members participate in a recent retreat in Grand Junction, Colorado. The slide displays a quote attributed to Yogi Berra: "If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up someplace else."

Network Name Community Care Alliance
Location Grand Junction, CO
Key Contacts Angelina Salazar, Vice President of Outreach and Communications for Western Healthcare Alliance, and Marnell Bradfield, Director of Operations for Community Care Alliance
Mission The Community Care Alliance prepares healthcare organizations for success in the future, where medical communities will be rewarded for achieving better care, healthier people, and smarter spending.

The Community Care Alliance (CCA) will develop a centralized and efficient infrastructure consisting of IT and analytics, practice transformation support, training and best practice guidance, quality monitoring and reporting, care coordination models, health and benefits programs, and management services to meet the varying needs of its members and their clinically integrated networks (CINs). CCA will seek active partnerships with other rural networks throughout the nation, in order to increase economies of scale and bolster the primary goal of providing cost effective population health management solutions for member-owners.

Angelina Salazar and Marnell Bradfield were interviewed by NCHN’s director of member services to share information on the network’s characteristics, key learnings, accomplishments, and challenges.

Q: In a “nutshell,” how would you describe your network?

A: Western Healthcare Alliance (WHA) is a member-owned network. Community Care Alliance (CCA) is an LLC owned by WHA, founded to create solutions for rural health care. All of the WHA members conversed, recognizing the value of small rural organizations and needing to do something to be prepared for value-based reimbursement. From those conversations, CCA was formed. The purpose was to explore all opportunities to help prepare organizations for value-based reimbursement and the changing health care landscape. 

CCA started in March 2015 and has its own board. The board discussed the best way to support the organizations.  It recognized the best way to do that was Track 1 Performance-Based Medicare Shared Savings Program ACO [Accountable Care Organization]. Right now, CCA is providing management services for two Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs. We’re providing the tools and support to be successful, thereby assisting them to be ready to move into Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization (MACRA) and Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Additionally, we’ve been awarded the recognition as a practice transformation organization by the Colorado Practice Transformation Network, which is a TCPi participating network.  

Q: What has been key to your network's success thus far?

A: Being part of WHA, and the fact that it’s member owned and those members recognize a need for CCA and a need for ACO support, we have lots of buy-in. We have enormous support from hospitals to the practices in their communities. Whether they provide people to augment the practice or financial assistance, the hospitals’ commitment to make sure these practices are successful is amazing. Hospitals are helping to support infrastructure of CCA.

It’s rare to find a group of CEOs who are willing to take the time these hospital CEOs take and put so much thought into the sustainability of health care in their communities. The CEOs have a history of competition and now are willing to collaborate. They see the benefits of collaboration over competition, and the one who wins is the patient. This group tries to make changes and take ownership.

Q: What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working in your unique rural area?

A: Our biggest difficulty is also our biggest asset: we’re small and rural and separated by geography. The organizations vary in size. This makes it hard to develop programs and services to meet needs of that variety. The asset is we’re collectively a little smaller, so we can create rapid cycles of change and be very fluid and react quickly. It’s an asset, but we have to be creative with programs we’re writing. We can’t put everyone in the same box.

Being involved in an ACO environment is also challenging, dealing with lots of different organizations and personalities. You have to find middle ground. Everything is new. The whole concept of ACOs is new. We are inventing the wheel with innovative models on lots of things, which gives us energy to come to work.

One of our key objectives in year one is that every participant has a care coordination model. Recognizing we’re many different types of organizations, we can’t come in and dictate a certain discipline for the care coordination. In a solo practice, the best coordinator may be a high functioning practitioner. Somewhere else, it may be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  In order to honor the culture of the practice and the community, we need to embrace all the disciplines, which presents challenges for education.

Being rural, we inherently know practices are already doing a great job of care coordination, but it’s informal. We capitalize on relationships providers already have. We know it’s being done; now we’re working on formalizing ways to demonstrate their efficacy. In really small areas, people want to take care of each other. In rural health care settings, it’s easier to provide whole care, because you know the individual outside the medical office.

Q: What are your main tasks for the coming year?

A: One requirement of an ACO by CMS is to report on quality measures. For the Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO), having successful submission is key. We will report on 2016 in the first quarter of 2017. Additionally, we are focused on qualifying for shared savings, focusing on care coordination for the top 10% of highest cost, highest-utilizing patients. We will try to expand that capability to rising-risk patients, trying to make impacts before cost is a bigger issue. We are really continuing to build the foundation for them being ready for MIPS.

Q: Based on your experiences, what advice do you have for a developing rural health network?

A: Like the leadership guru Simon Sinek has said in his lectures, don’t forget the “why.” We are constantly in a reactionary state, leading to burnout. Always remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Don’t forget who you are and how it all began. The mission of CCA is the center of everything we are doing. It is about the patient.

Also, be flexible. Oftentimes when you’re dedicated to your role, you can become too attached to your work. In this landscape, own your work, but own it “loosely” so when it’s removed from you, you can easily take on the new challenge in front of you. Health care is always an adventure.


<< View More Network Spotlights

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Vermont Care Network

May 2018

Vermont Care Network is a statewide network that integrates the full continuum of health, wellness and social services enabling Vermonters to lead full and satisfying lives.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Montana Health Network

March 2018

Montana Health Network supports and influences the evolution of health care organizations and enhances the well-being of individuals and communities.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Illinois Telehealth Network

November 2017

ITN promotes the capacity of members to improve access to health care in rural, underserved and disadvantaged communities, through the application of telehealth and telemedicine solutions.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Indiana Rural Workforce Innovation Network

September 2017

IRWIN strives to become a sustainable, rural-focused workforce network that recruits motivated students, delivers allied health professions’ education and training, facilitates meaningful clinical rotations, and places graduates in rural allied health professions’ jobs.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Southeast Texas Health System

July 2017

SETHS integrates health care locally and regionally in responding to the growth of managed care in a way that preserves local control and maintains the independence of member institutions.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Northeast Oregon Network

May 2017

NEON increases access to and quality of integrated health care for Northeast Oregon residents by identifying system gaps, facilitating community-developed solutions and advocating for health policy change.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Northwest Rural Health Network

April 2017

The Northwest Rural Health Network shares resources and collectively supports rural health systems to develop integrated models of care throughout eastern Washington State.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Affiliated Service Providers of Indiana

March 2017

ASPIN provides educational programs, resource management, program development and network management in collaboration with health care entities to address health disparities and whole health management throughout the state of Indiana.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Foothills Health Network

January 2017

Foothills Health Network improves the health of people living in Polk County, NC, and neighboring communities by increasing access to coordinated, quality care and cultivating community engagement.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Community Care Alliance

December 2016

Based in Colorado, the Community Care Alliance prepares healthcare organizations for success in the future, where medical communities will be rewarded for achieving better care, healthier people and smarter spending.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Palmetto Care Connections

November 2016

Palmetto Care Connections facilitates health care access across South Carolina through the utilization of innovative technology to promote the provision of qualified medical professionals of various disciplines.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: North Coast Clinics Network

October 2016

The North Coast Clinics Networks is comprised of three FQHCs in northwest California that collaborate to ensure health care workforce readiness, improve the quality of care and shape health care policy.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Safetyweb Network

September 2016

The Safetyweb Network works throughout Polk County, WI to increase health care coverage access and retention among the uninsured and underinsured.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: North Country Health Consortium

August 2016

The NCHC is a rural health network, created in 1997, as a vehicle for addressing common issues through collaboration among health and human service providers serving Northern New Hampshire.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Mountain Health Alliance

June 2016

The Mountain Health Alliance is a regional network dedicated to advancing a culture of health through collaboration and community engagement.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Prairie Health Information Technology Network

May 2016

The Prairie Health Information Technology Network improves patient outcomes and the quality of care for the medically underserved, including the uninsured and underinsured patients of South Dakota, through the meaningful use and adoption by both provider and patient of health information technology and the electronic health record.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Tri-County Health Network

April 2016

The Tri-County Health Network is a nonprofit organization committed to improving the overall health and quality of health care in rural southwest Colorado by identifying, developing, and operating programs and initiatives that will reform the health care delivery system and payment methodology in rural communities.

Network Spotlight

Network Spotlight: Illinois Rural Health Network

March 2016

The Illinois Rural Health Network strives to be an accessible system of care that promotes early identification of and provides resources and services for children at risk for developmental, medical, emotional, social and/or behavioral difficulties.