Augusta Health Receives 2024 CMS Health Equity Award

Health equity award winners posing for a photo

Date: May 30, 2024
Categories: Press Release

FISHERSVILLE, Virginia—Augusta Health was one of two national awardees honored at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Health Equity Conference on May 30, 2024, with a Health Equity Award. This award is presented to organizations that advance health equity by reducing disparities in healthcare access, quality, and outcomes.

Augusta Health was recognized for improving access to healthcare in vulnerable communities. The hospital, aiming to be a national model for community-based healthcare, implemented Augusta Health Neighborhood Clinics, previously known as Primary Care Mobile Clinic, to reach neighborhoods with rural geographic barriers and local cities with high poverty rates and adverse social and health barriers.

Since its official launch in September 2022, the Augusta Health Neighborhood Clinics have expanded to operate at 14 unique sites each month. This expansion has been possible due to the invaluable support of our community partners, who provide local expertise in crucial social services like housing and food insecurity. And a special thank you to Dr. Clint Merritt, Augusta Medical Group, Population Health, Community Outreach & Partnerships, and the Mobile Clinic team who deliver care throughout the Neighborhood Clinics. This collaborative approach, combined with data-driven decision-making, has been critical to the clinic’s success in improving health.

“A driver of this program was the belief that our mission as a community health system had broadened through the COVID-19 pandemic to become more inclusive, collaborative, and responsive to addressing local health disparities,” said Clint Merritt, MD, Chief Physician Executive/Chief Medical Officer of Augusta Health. “Our system quickly realized we needed to adapt to address insufficient patient access to primary care. A key step was identifying access barriers and health disparities by asking questions of our community members through listening sessions. In response, Augusta Health launched the first Neighborhood Clinics and designed programming specific to those vulnerable neighborhoods.”

CMS recognized the Augusta Health Neighborhood Clinics for:

  • Increasing community members’ access to primary care.
  • Reducing unnecessary emergency room utilization to ensure patients receive appropriate care at the right time and location.
  • And improving outcomes and markers of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

Within the program’s first full year, the Neighborhood Clinics have made a significant impact, providing over 1,700 primary care visits for 825 patients at 17 community sites. Services vary by location and are based on community needs.

To learn more about the CMS Health Equity Award and to sign up for updates on other grants and awards, please visit