Quality Field Notes: Regional Collaboratives Can Improve the Value of Local Health Care

An interpreter assists a nurse with explaining medication to a non-English speaking patient.

Health care reform starts at the local level. Every community is different and requires its own unique approach to improving the value and affordability of care. Local health improvement collaborations bring together diverse, sometimes competing organizations and offer a common table at which suggestions and resources can be shared.

Regional collaboratives provide unlikely partners—including purchasers, payers, consumer advocates, clinicians, and others—a neutral setting in which collective goals and actionable strategies can be established. For the past eight years, Aligning Forces for Quality has pioneered the implementation of these types of organizations, and successfully transformed health care delivery systems, increased public reporting, and lowered costs in 16 communities across the country.

This issue brief, and related resources, explore lessons learned by Aligning Forces communities on how to successfully form regional health improvement collaboratives and become a driving force for quality improvement.

Key Findings

What’s Working

  • The Maine Health Management Coalition (MHMC), a purchaser-led organization, and Maine Quality Counts (QC), a provider-led organization, formed a successful statewide patient-centered medical home pilot. In the past four years, the pilot has grown from 26 primary care practices to 75, and now serves more than 25 percent of patients in Maine.

  • MHMC, QC, and Maine’s health information exchange won a $33 million federal State Innovation Model grant, a program under the Affordable Care Act that provides funds for existing health care reform initiatives to continue to improve care and reduce costs.

  • Less than two years after forming, the New Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Quality released its first public report on ambulatory care, which has spurred employers to ask their health plans for data to identify their cost drivers and promote value-based purchasing.