Inaugural J-PAL Health Care Delivery Innovation Competition winners announced

Four organizations will partner with J-PAL North America to evaluate substance abuse treatment, care integration, social-service delivery, and patient-engagement programs.


The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) North America, a research center at MIT announced today the winners of its inaugural Health Care Delivery Innovation Competition. The competition supports the development of large-scale randomized controlled trials of innovative programs with the potential to serve as models for improving health care for vulnerable populations.

The four winning organizations are CareOregon, a nonprofit health plan serving a large Medicaid population in Oregon; the Commonwealth Care Alliance, a Massachusetts care delivery system for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries with complex medical needs; the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, which administers correctional facilities in Louisville, Kentucky; and the Northeast Delta Human Services Authority, a quasi-governmental behavioral health care safety net provider in northeastern Louisiana.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with these four innovative organizations to generate evidence with the potential to inform the practice of health care across the United States,” said Amy Finkelstein, the John and Jennie S. MacDonald Professor of Economics at MIT and co-scientific director of J-PAL North America.

J-PAL North America will work with the winning organizations to develop rigorous evidence on pressing issues in health care delivery and public health: addressing the opioid epidemic, improving social determinants of health, integrating primary and behavioral health care, and engaging high-cost, high-need patients.

“Improving the care we deliver to vulnerable populations is critical to the viability of our health care system. Generating rigorous evidence of innovative programs is a key step in realizing this financial and moral imperative,” said Quentin Palfrey, executive director of J-PAL North America.

CareOregon was selected based on its holistic care model, which coordinates health care with social services including housing, nutrition, and social supports. The program leverages a network of service providers outside of the traditional boundaries of the health care system to improve the health of Medicaid patients.

“It’s wonderful to be able to partner with J-PAL on this important work,” said Eric Hunter, CareOregon’s chief executive officer. “One thing that we have recognized about health is that so many factors are entirely outside of the arena of what we traditionally consider ‘health care.’ Our Community Health Innovation programs address social determinants of health, such as food, housing, and social isolation. The grant from J-PAL will provide us the technical assistance to analyze and evaluate the results of these efforts. Ultimately, we’ll learn how to better align social determinant goals with clinical criteria to improve our members' health outcomes and overall well-being as well as be able to share those best practices with others.”

Commonwealth Care Alliance is deploying financial incentives to engage some of its highest-need, but most difficult-to-reach patients. Commonwealth Care Alliance will collaborate with J-PAL North America to study whether these incentives can increase patient engagement in the initial steps of the care process, and subsequently improve downstream health and reduce health care spending.

“We are excited to be recognized by, and eager to start working with J-PAL. Commonwealth Care Alliance and J-PAL share a common goal to work together to support and implement innovative healthcare strategies,” said Christopher D. Palmieri, president and CEO of Commonwealth Care Alliance. “This grant will help support CCA’s commitment to lead transformation and innovation, on a larger level.”

The Louisville Metro Department of Corrections is designing a pay-for-success initiative to provide treatment to individuals with substance abuse disorders discharged from Louisville, Kentucky jails. Louisville will leverage competition resources to evaluate whether providing these services can improve health outcomes and reduce recidivism.

“Louisville Metro Government appreciates being selected as an award recipient and looks forward to working with J-PAL to improve delivery of care and treatment to individual suffering the effects of substance abuse and addiction,” said Mark Bolton, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.

The Northeast Delta Human Services Authority has developed an innovative integrated services network to provide integrated primary care and a range of social services, including housing, employment, and transportation, to rural and low-income populations with behavioral health needs.

“We want to thank J-PAL for this prestigious award and for the opportunity to work with their renowned research team as we continue to perfect our integrated service model,” said Monteic A. Sizer, executive director of the Northeast Delta Human Services Authority. “Empirical test findings around our innovative service delivery model could change the way primary and behavioral health care is delivered for vulnerable populations with complex needs in Louisiana and across the country. Being selected for this award is a testament to our board and staff's commitment to our vision and mission. We look forward to sharing and implementing discoveries with our state's health care, business, community, and elected officials.”

The Innovation Competition is a part of J-PAL’s U.S. Health Care Delivery Initiative, which is currently also supporting randomized evaluations of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers’ pioneering care coordination program for high-cost, high-need patients, the Nurse-Family Partnership flagship nurse-home visiting program for low-income, first-time mothers, and a number of other programs across the country. The initiative was established with generous support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

J-PAL North America is a regional office of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. J-PAL was established in 2003 as a research center at MIT’s Department of Economics. Since then, it has built a global network of affiliated professors based at over 40 universities and regional offices in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. J-PAL North America was established with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and works to improve the effectiveness of social programs in the region through three core activities: research, policy outreach, and capacity building.

For more information, contact Initiative Manager Jason Bauman.


Topics: Health care, Economics, Contests and academic competitions, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), SHASS, Health, Public health, Policy, Government, Research, Funding

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