Partnerships for Better Health

The Partnerships for Better Health portfolio focuses on value-based initiatives to improve Montanans’ health. MHCF is dedicated to improving the health status of Montanans and to increasing the quality and accessibility of health services for people across the state. Health disparities—defined as the higher rates of illness experienced by certain populations, including socially or economically disadvantaged families, racial and ethnic minorities, children, and older adults—are a focus of this portfolio.

Many communities, particularly in rural Montana, have limited access to health services, and healthcare workforce shortages and budget shortfalls are widespread. In recent years, Montana has seen per capita health spending rise faster than 41 other states. As healthcare costs continue to rise, there is a need for innovations that improve health outcomes while also helping to contain costs.

So-called “value-based” approaches that seek to realign incentives to produce better outcomes have emerged as a priority in Montana. In the HELP Act that expanded eligibility for Montana’s Medicaid program, the state legislature, for example, mandated that the state design the program in a way that reduces costs and improves medical outcomes, and found that achieving this aim would require collaboration among public and private stakeholders. The Governor’s Council on Healthcare Innovation and Reform has also focused on value-based approaches to healthcare delivery system and payment reform.

This portfolio seeks to identify collaborative, systems-based solutions that are workable in Montana and make measurable improvements in health outcomes. Projects funded under this focus area will create new inter-agency partnerships designed to deliver more accessible and effective care; expand the use of care coordination; and strengthen efforts to prevent disease through addressing upstream risk factors such as poverty and poor-quality housing.