Press Release

RELEASE: ACHP Receives Award to Advance Peer-led Mental Health Interventions

Washington (June 25, 2019) – The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) has been awarded a Eugene Washington PCORI (Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute) Engagement Award for 2019. ACHP will use the award to educate its member companies on the latest evidence around peer-led clinical interventions to support patients with severe mental illness. This is ACHP’s second PCORI Award.

“We’re thrilled with this award and the opportunity to improve the quality of life for people with serious mental illness,” said ACHP President and CEO Ceci Connolly. “We believe – and the evidence shows – that trained mental health peers can play an important role in both physical and mental health outcomes. Our nonprofit member plans are closely aligned with their clinical partners, making them uniquely positioned to explore and implement these proven community-based interventions.”  

Access to high-quality mental health services is severely limited in many areas of the U.S. Peer-to-peer interventions offer an affordable and promising opportunity to link professional mental and physical health care services to individuals with serious mental illness, including those with bipolar disorder or major depression. Trained peer navigators are especially in tune with the sensitivities and experiences of their clients, leading to more effective and holistic treatments for those with complex mental health needs.

ACHP will use the $80,000 award to educate its members on the latest evidence in the area of peer-led interventions and identify opportunities to implement peer-led approaches in mental health care. The award will also enable health plans to pinpoint potential gaps in clinical evidence to guide future research on this topic.

“There is a huge disparity in life expectancy between those with serious mental illness and those who do not have mental illness, largely due to preventable and treatable physical health conditions,” said ACHP Chief Medical Officer Dr. Connie Hwang. “ACHP is committed to improving access, quality and integration of behavioral health services. This award will help us understand how best to promote peer-to-peer interventions in mental health care.”

The 2019 award will support ACHP’s continued work to accelerate innovative solutions for some of health care’s biggest challenges, through dissemination of evidence and collaboration between its member health plans and provider partners. ACHP was awarded its first Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award in 2017 to capture best practices for disseminating clinical information to speed medical evidence from the lab room to the exam room. The complete report, Accelerating the Adoption of Evidence-Based Care: Payer Provider Partnerships, finds that community health plans have a unique ability to influence clinician behavior, aiding in adoption of evidence-based health interventions and delivering higher quality care. The study identifies best practices and replicable, scalable strategies to foster improved health outcomes at a lower cost. Additional information is available here.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.

About ACHP The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) is a national leadership organization bringing together innovative health plans and provider groups that are among America’s best at delivering affordable, high-quality coverage and care. ACHP’s member health plans provide coverage and care for more than 21 million Americans across 34 states and the District of Columbia. These organizations focus on improving the health of the communities they serve and are on the leading edge of innovations in affordability and quality of care, including primary care redesign, payment reform, accountable health care delivery and use of information technology. To learn more, go to and follow ACHP on Twitter @_ACHP.