How Alabama Arise is lifting up community voices in Alabama Medicaid

Alabama Medicaid is at a moment of transformation, opening up opportunities for a new focus on improving health outcomes. And Alabama Arise is working hard to ensure community needs and voices stay at the forefront.

Medicaid primary care is moving from a statewide fee-for-service model to a system of seven Alabama Coordinated Health Networks (ACHNs). The regional, nonprofit ACHNs began offering services Nov. 1, focusing on prevention, care coordination and health improvements. The inclusion of consumer representatives on regional governing boards and advisory committees also allows an unprecedented opportunity for Medicaid consumers to provide input directly to program officials.

Alabama Arise held a community asset mapping meeting on June 11, 2019, in Mobile. We met at the Bay Area Women Coalition and Trinity Gardens Community Civic Club offices. The meeting was the first held as part of a local project to help shape a Medicaid quality improvement project with the Alabama Coordinated Health Network for southwest Alabama.

In a pilot program designed to take advantage of these reforms, Arise has partnered with the Bay Area Women Coalition to enhance the local health system’s ability to promote greater food security in the Trinity Gardens neighborhood of Mobile. We’ve reached more than 100 people over six community meetings this year.

The community engagement effort is producing results. We’ve identified potential leaders and worked with residents to prioritize their ideas. We’re also discussing ways to strengthen community input as Medicaid implements and evaluates quality improvement projects.

Arise is grateful for our partnership with our Trinity Gardens neighbors. And we hope to build similar connections in communities across Alabama.