Seventeen Leading Health Systems – Representing 5% of the Nation’s Hospitals – Join Forces to Transform Care for Vulnerable Populations

CHICAGO and MINNEAPOLIS – Seventeen of the nation’s leading health systems, comprising 280 hospitals, are joining forces to identify, develop, and scale financially sustainable solutions that improve the health of underserved individuals and families in their communities. The Medicaid Transformation Project is a national effort to transform healthcare and related social needs for the nearly 75 million Americans who rely on Medicaid.

The work will focus on five critical challenges facing vulnerable populations across the country, including behavioral health, women and infant care, substance use disorder, and avoidable emergency department visits. Solutions that meet the needs of this diverse population will improve care for all vulnerable populations.

Uniting for Change

Five health systems anchor the work: Advocate Aurora Health in Chicago and Wisconsin; Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas; Dignity Health in San Francisco; Geisinger in Danville, Pa.; and Providence St. Joseph Health in Renton, Wash. Twelve of the nation’s most innovative health systems also join this work. Collectively, these 17 health systems share a common mission and sense of urgency to advance sustainable solutions that improve health for their diverse communities. Together, they span 21 states, over 53,000 hospitals beds, and over $100 billion in combined annual revenues.

The health systems will be able to better meet their communities’ needs through the proliferation and adoption of shared digital solutions and innovative care models. “Healthcare today must be consumer-centric, and engage patients with personalized experiences,” said Lloyd Dean, President and CEO of Dignity Health. “Together, we must bring down healthcare costs in order to provide access for the most vulnerable communities. It is my hope that our collaboration will unleash new avenues that bring down barriers to care and improve the overall health of our communities.”

In addition to the five health systems anchoring the work, 12 leading organizations have committed to transform healthcare by joining the Medicaid Transformation Project. They include:

“We’ve seen exciting and positive momentum with digitally enabled solutions that engage our physicians, caregivers, patients, and consumers. Through the Medicaid Transformation Project, we know we can share what we’ve learned with other systems and amplify our ability to help patients through what we learn from these impressive partners,” said Dr. Rod Hochman, Providence St. Joseph Health President and CEO.

Who’s Involved? 

The Medicaid Transformation Project will be led by AVIA, creators of the nation’s leading network for health systems seeking to innovate, and Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator of CMS and Founder and General Partner at Town Hall Ventures. AVIA leads a network of 35 action-oriented health systems that collaborate to find, implement, and scale the best digital solutions to address common challenges.

Slavitt founded Town Hall Ventures as a venture capital firm devoted to investing in and supporting entrepreneurs who are improving the health of underserved populations.

“The current healthcare system fails the people who need it most,” said Slavitt. “The Medicaid Transformation Project will be part of a decade-long journey leading some of the best health systems in the country. Our work will be to deepen and refine the best innovations and then implement them at an accelerated pace at providers across the country.”

The Need: Our Nation’s Healthcare System is Unsustainable  

All parties involved in the Medicaid Transformation Project agree the time to act is now.

  • One in five Americans is covered by Medicaid
  • 50 percent of U.S. births are financed by Medicaid
  • Medicaid is the country’s No. 1 payer for behavioral health services
  • 33 cents of every dollar for a physician’s services are paid by Medicare/Medicaid

“Geisinger has joined the Medicaid Transformation Project because of AVIA’s emphasis on action,” said Geisinger CEO and President David Feinberg. “The gap between the needs of vulnerable populations and the healthcare they receive is too great. We are no longer interested in discussing the problems our patients are facing or just piloting solutions – we’re interested in solving them as quickly as possible.”

“As the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas – a state which did not expand Medicaid – we remain committed to meeting the needs of the communities we serve, including providing access to care for those who cannot afford it,” said Jim Hinton, Baylor Scott & White Health CEO. “We are energized to be part of leading this national initiative and advancing sustainable solutions to meet the growing needs of our most vulnerable populations.

The Work Ahead: Scaling Financially Sustainable Solutions

To address these critical challenges, the Medicaid Transformation Project will assemble a core team at each health system to implement solutions. They will share best practices across the network, creating a roadmap for partner organizations to act quickly to create change. The work will feature a Leadership Council, chaired by Slavitt and composed of health system CEOs, to maintain course.

The true power of the project is its collective force, which will accelerate action. “As part of our purpose to help people live well, we are committed to expanding access to critical health care services,” said Jim Skogsbergh, President and CEO of Advocate Aurora Health.“The Medicaid Transformation Project aligns with our community-focused approach to meeting the needs of those we are so privileged to serve.”

“We believe tomorrow’s solutions for today’s health disparities will be rooted in digital solutions and technologies that are easy to implement and scale,” said Nick Turkal, MD, President and CEO of Advocate Aurora Health.“This unique opportunity brings together like-minded systems who are committed to delivering greater value to those who deliver, receive, and pay for health care.”

Medicaid Transformation Project Leaders

“We are honored to partner with this powerhouse group of health systems and be an accelerant for the innovative work they’re doing to help vulnerable populations every day,” said AVIA President Linda Finkel. “These health systems are ready to have an even greater impact – by scaling sustainable care models and capabilities that can significantly improve the health of the underserved. And now, thanks to the potential to unlock digital solutions, there’s a stronger business case than ever. We are deeply privileged to be entrusted with this meaningful work.”

David Smith, formerly of Leavitt Partners, will guide the Medicaid Transformation Project and has partnered with a number of leading Medicaid experts as active participants in the work, including Dr. Molly Coye, former Commissioner of Health for the State of New Jersey and Director of the California Department of Health Services.

“There is an incredible confluence of market and policy activity creating the right conditions to drive profound change for the least fortunate among us. Our health system partners believe that this moment is unique and their leadership can have a seminal impact in catalyzing nationwide energy and focus on the challenges facing our communities,” said Smith.

Health systems interested in participating in the Medicaid Transformation Project can visit or email for information.

About the Medicaid Transformation Project

The Medicaid Transformation Project is a national effort to transform healthcare and address related social needs for the most vulnerable. Throughout this two-year mission, health systems will implement innovative solutions that address challenges like behavioral health and substance use disorder. This will create long-term systemic impact over the next 10 years with the goal of improving the health of 75 million Americans.

About AVIA

AVIA leads a network of health systems working together to innovate and transform. AVIA Innovator Network members solve pressing challenges with digital solutions that deliver financial and clinical results. AVIA provides strategic focus and a collaborative approach to accelerate innovation.  Learn more at Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Town Hall Ventures

Town Hall Ventures is a venture firm headquartered in New York and Minneapolis that invests in health care companies primarily serving vulnerable populations covered by Medicare and Medicaid. With deep experience building businesses, serving in major public and private sector roles, building premier executive teams, and investing across technology and health care, Town Hall partners with entrepreneurs to build transformational businesses from the idea stage to the growth stage.

Media Contact

Ellis Metz