Humana and University of Houston advance integrated care

Leaders from Humana and the University of Houston – who recently announced a long-term strategic partnership to train health care professionals in population health and value-based care as a means of improving health outcomes – met recently in Houston to build relationships and set priorities for their goal of advancing the science of primary care.

More than 50 leaders from both organizations gathered to advance collaboration on the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute at the University of Houston, which will unite the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Optometry. A $15 million gift over 10 years from Humana will help defray start-up and operational costs for the College of Medicine, as well as fund endowed chairs for each of the five colleges.

On December 6, Humana will host an event on the University of Houston campus to formally kick off the Institute. This event will be focused primarily on students, culminating with a student poster competition to advance thought leadership in three core areas important to the institute:

• Inter-professional education and Integrated Care Delivery
• Population health and social determinants of health
• Value-based care and innovative reimbursement models

Participants in the event will include UH students, faculty and staff, as well as community leaders, Humana leaders and clinicians.

“We are thrilled with how this partnership with the University of Houston and Humana has started,” said Tray Cockerell, Director of Strategic Relationships in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer. “Our colleagues at the university are passionate about working together to train a new generation of clinicians in an educational model that focuses on integrated care delivery and value-based reimbursement, as well as improving health outcomes primarily focused on the underserved population in Houston and the rest of Texas.” Cockerell added, “This relationship with the University of Houston is a fantastic way for us to advance the science of Primary Care.”

The ultimate goal is to graduate physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals who are trained in population health and have a propensity for primary care and for working with the underserved. The result will be better healthcare in Houston, the U.S. and beyond.

Humana brings to the partnership more than 50 years of experience in care delivery and health plan administration, along with an integrated-care model that improves health and well-being and lowers costs. The University of Houston brings world-class academics, ground-breaking research and an innovative approach to health education.

The University of Houston is an ideal partner to advance and support Humana’s integrated care delivery approach. The relationship enables Humana to play a formative role in shaping the new medical school, which includes UH’s new college of Medicine, as well as existing colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Optometry. The partners will engage in research that furthers treatment models and the overall advancement of clinical sciences in primary care, nursing, visual health, social work and pharmacy, including the delivery of high-value care and value-based payment models. The program will train health professionals to thrive in and shape health systems based on evidence-based approaches developed through the Institute’s research.

There will be a strong emphasis on engaging the local community and improving social determinants of health, such as loneliness, social isolation and food insecurity.

Both Humana and the University of Houston expect that the partnership will yield abundant opportunities for collaboration, including:

• Adjunct professorships and teaching opportunities for Humana subject matter experts
• Opportunities to partner in shaping curricula in a wide range of topics, including value-based payment, home-based care, population health, data analytics and more
• Partnership on research and publications
• The establishment of value-based care clinic labs for University of Houston health sciences students and medical residents
• Internships and rotation programs to provide practical experience

The partnership will also build a talent pipeline of graduates who believe in, train in and will practice population health.

The UH College of Medicine is scheduled to admit 30 students in its inaugural class in 2020, pending approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas Legislature, and accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, ultimately growing to full enrollment of 480 students.

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