New collaborative with John Snow Inc. and the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute aims to spur innovation in value-based payment and care.

John Snow, Inc. (JSI), the Center for Care Innovations (CCI), and the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (MacColl) announce the launch of The Delta Center for a Thriving Safety Net (Delta Center). This national collaborative aims to inspire innovation and change in value-based care and payment, through both policy and practice. The Delta Center is being launched with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The Center will provide technical assistance to state primary care associations and behavioral health state associations to build a stronger safety net.

“Together we’re stronger,” said Veenu Aulakh, executive director at CCI. “By sharing successes and lessons across the country, we can build a responsive safety net that can sustain meaningful change.”


The Delta Center will provide technical assistance to 10 state primary care and behavioral health associations that will be selected through a competitive grant process to participate in a learning and action network. Interested? We’re inviting clinic consortia, primary care associations and behavioral health associations to join an informational webinar at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 31, to learn more about the Delta Center and this funding opportunity.


Pressure on Community Health Centers

Community health centers, which serve over 27 million people, and community behavioral health providers, which serve over 10 million people, are facing increasing pressure to move toward models of care and payment that reward value over volume. Safety-net primary care and behavioral health providers are key sectors for a reformed delivery system, yet they often lack the technical and change management capacity to implement and sustain change. Participation in population-based payment arrangements in the safety net is still new—many providers face challenges in building the necessary infrastructure and navigating an evolving payment environment.

The Delta Center is the first national center to focus exclusively on transforming payment and care for ambulatory primary care and behavioral health services. The Delta Center will:

  1. Build capacity within existing state provider associations to support their provider members and local partners—fostering broad and sustained reach;
  2. Synthesize and disseminate lessons from local, state, and national experiences to inform policy and practice at all levels; and
  3. Advance creative collaboration between primary care and behavioral health.
    This multi-pronged approach will build the knowledge, resources, and relationships of state and national organizations to shape and respond to policy change and opportunities in the safety net.

“With new value-based payment arrangements and higher expectations for clinical quality and patient-centered care, we want to help health centers, behavioral health agencies, and those who support them do more than weather this new environment,” said MacColl research associate Katie Coleman, MSPH, who is the MacColl site principal investigator for the Delta Center. “We want them to thrive.”

The Delta Center will operate nationally, convening this learning community three times a year in various locations across the country and remotely in-between. The Delta Center also brings together the National Association for Community Health Centers (NACHC) and the National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council), marking their first large-scale collaboration in this area.

Ensuring the Long-Term Health of the Safety Net

“Ensuring providers’ ability to engage in value-based payment and care is critical for the long-term health of the safety net,” said Andrea Ducas, senior program officer at RWJF. “And with both NACHC and the National Council at the table, the Delta Center is poised for considerable reach and impact.” The Delta Center will conduct its work with an eye toward sustainability and transformation in both rural and urban environments, and is actively planning for how to keep that broad focus.

JSI will lead the Delta Center, in close collaboration with MacColl and CCI. This partnership combines strengths in policy and value-based payment in the safety net, delivery system transformation, and sustainable change in organizations.

“This initiative is an innovative and highly collaborative approach to support state associations and their members to meaningfully transform care delivery and engage in value-based payment. We are excited to partner with states in the vanguard of change to make the safety net stronger nationwide,” said Rachel Tobey, project director and director of JSI California.