VCU Health selected for multi-site demonstration to transform complex care

Share this story

VCU Health is one of six organizations chosen to participate in Transforming Complex Care, a multi-site demonstration aimed at refining and spreading effective care models that address the complex medical and social needs of high-need, high-cost patients. This national initiative, made possible with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by the Center for Health Care Strategies, will work with six organizations to enhance existing complex care programs within a diverse range of delivery system, payment and geographic environments.

“As the largest safety net health care system in the Commonwealth of Virginia, VCU Health provides services to large populations of patients who encounter health-related social issues,” said Sheryl Garland, vice president of health policy and community relations, VCU Health System. “Often, these issues impact the health outcomes for patients.”

Health care policymakers, payers and providers across the country increasingly recognize the need for integrated care models for patients with complex needs, a population that accounts for disproportionate health care costs. These patients frequently have multiple medical, mental health and substance use treatment needs, and face social and economic challenges that further complicate their health outcomes.

“The Transforming Complex Care initiative provides an opportunity to expand the health system’s population health model for complex patients by providing additional resources to identify and address many of these social determinants of health,” Garland said. “The lessons learned from this initiative can be utilized by providers, payers and policy makers who are working to enhance the care delivery system for the residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

VCU Health was competitively selected to participate in the initiative along with five additional sites intentionally drawn from small- to mid-sized cities. Each site will receive funding support and participate in a learning collaborative offering 1-to-1 and group technical assistance, peer exchange and tools. Additional sites and the regions they serve are:

  • AccessHealth Spartanburg; Spartanburg County, South Carolina
  • Mountain Pacific Quality Health Foundation; state of Montana
  • OneCare Vermont; state of Vermont
  • Redwood Community Health Coalition; northern California
  • ThedaCare; eastern Wisconsin


“Caring for patients with complex needs requires innovative programs that go beyond medical issues to address unmet social needs,” said David Adler, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The Transforming Complex Care sites will support a culture of health by building the evidence base on improving care for high-need, high-cost patients.”

Over two years, the sites will refine targeted strategies across six key domains for improving complex care: (1) care model enhancements; (2) data and analytics; (3) workforce development; (4) financing and accountability; (5) governance and operations; and (6) policy and advocacy. As the program progresses, CHCS will share lessons and tools from the sites’ experiences. Look for more information at