Meals on Wheels America and its partner, Quantified Ventures, embarked on a new initiative with a large healthcare company via its national Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. The initiative presented the opportunity for Meals on Wheels America to scale its network’s service delivery to homebound seniors, and for the MA plan to develop a new home-delivered meal benefit in conjunction with other supportive services for its enrollees. The intervention delivered through this innovative partnership was to be financed through a Pay for Success (PFS) transaction – an outcomes-based financing model; however, several practical challenges emerged as the involved partners worked through key steps in the deal development process. Ultimately, the MA plan decided to finance the project through a direct contract rather than with PFS. Despite the change in payment mechanism, several key learnings surfaced during this effort that may influence the ability of other community-based organizations (CBOs) to effectively partner with health plans or health systems to finance innovation and enhanced service delivery are explored in Effective Partnerships Between Community-Based Organizations and Healthcare: A Possible Path to Sustainability. This report:
- Synthesizes key learnings from a first-in-kind attempt to develop a PFS project between a MA plan and Meals on Wheels;
- Looks into ways to break down barriers that CBOs face in partnering with healthcare entities;
- Examines important characteristics that should be assessed prior to partnering with a health plan or system, including organizational size, readiness and sophistication; and
- Discusses how MA plans can creatively finance initiatives focused on prevention and addressing social determinants of health.
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This report is intended to be disseminated freely. In reproducing any excerpts of this report, please provide a credit, such as: “Effective Partnerships Between Community-Based Organizations and Healthcare: A Possible Path to Sustainability was prepared by Meals on Wheels America and Quantified Ventures, and developed with the support of Nonprofit Finance Fund’s Pay for Success Initiative and the funding awarded between 2015 and 2017 by The Social Innovation Fund. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of Meals on Wheels America.”