Calvin Smith Sr. director of government and community relations at BridgePoint Healthcare, and Dan Magee, communications manager at AmeriHealth Caritas (Courtesy of Imagine Photography)
Calvin Smith Sr. director of government and community relations at BridgePoint Healthcare, and Dan Magee, communications manager at AmeriHealth Caritas (Courtesy of Imagine Photography)

AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia, a member of the AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies, hosted a leadership summit on Feb. 23 to develop additional Medicaid managed care strategies.

More than 80 participants, including community partners, local offcials, and Medicaid members, as well as national experts in housing, community development, and disease and violence prevention, collaborated to develop workable solutions that address the most challenging social determinants of health.

Karen Dale, AmeriHealth Caritas D.C. Market President and CEO, said that as Medicaid managed care continues to evolve, she believes it’s important to be at the forefront, “helping to shape the dialogues and creating solutions in partnership with key stakeholders.”

“The evolution of managed care is about doing more to meet people where they are. Risk factors, such as homelessness and violence, undermine our efforts to promote individual wellness and cultivate stable communities,” Dale said.

“The goal is to leverage our collective expertise to unlock barriers in the current system and find ways we can work to improve health outcomes — locally and nationally,” she said.

Dale emphasized that with AmeriHealth Caritas serving more than 104,000 District residents, it’s vital that the company live out its mission to serve the whole person and community.

“We believe we’ve started on a journey with key stakeholders and members of the community who we serve and want to co-author some meaningful and effective solutions to some of the challenges we collectively face,” she said.

“At the end of the summit, we polled those in attendance for recommendations and how they believed they should be prioritized. One of the amazing things that came out of the summit was the participation by our members — having them at the table to share their lived experiences helped to enrich the dialogue immensely,” Dale said.

Several strategies emerged from the session, all of which are now being pursued by AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia.

1) Improve the assessment and identification of social determinants of health, with special emphasis on homelessness, enabling health care providers to connect patients more quickly with appropriate housing supports and other services;

2) Increase provider and community awareness about violence prevention and treatment resources, because numerous studies have shown that exposure to potentially traumatic events not only results in significant immediate health care costs, but also predisposes individuals to developing chronic illnesses; and

3) Leverage respite care facilities as a cost-effective way to meet the medical needs of people who are homeless by providing acute and post-acute medical care for individuals who are too ill or frail to recover from an illness or physical injury on the streets, but are not ill enough to be in a hospital.
Dale added that in the very near future, plans will be announced that address partnering efforts with local housing providers and community-based organizations who work with families impacted by cyclical violence in various forms.

In addition, those who participated in the summit will have additional opportunities to participate and share their views and concerns, as will other members of the community as AmeriHealth Caritas seeks to “broaden the conversation.”

For relevant posts about the convening of the summit, results, recommendations and/or about AmeriHealthCaritas DC go to

D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents in their struggles with Alzheimer’s,...

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