Health Equity Connections & Accountable Care

Our founder and Executive Director, Gary J Stein, MPH, has more than 30 years of public health experience.  

A graduate of Michigan State University in Microbiology and Public Health, and a Master's of Public Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He has worked as an Epidemiologist tracking HIV and STDs, and lecturing on STD/HIV/TB prevention. After moving to Tampa he was the Program Director for Hillsborough County's Tobacco Control Program, and worked in the Office of Health Equity as Program Coordinator, Program Director and Grants Manager. Since leaving the Department of Health during a major downsizing, he has dedicated himself to developing a private sector non-profit that does the work of Public Health entities. He also writes a Healthcare Reform blog for the Huffington Post and was praised for his series of articles on the Medicaid Expansion debate in Florida. He testified in front of the Florida State House and Senate on the subject and was a guest on radio talk shows, including WMNF's Last Call

Blog Link:

Radio interview podcast:


Despite ample health and wellness resources in Tampa Bay, major health indicators continue to decline, especially for those negatively impacted by the social determinants of health. We must increase access to wellness resources and improve health outcomes while reducing costs.

Many preventable health problems are due to the lack of a medical home. The Commonwealth Fund Commission showed that access to medical insurance and primary care through a medical home is associated with improved quality of care, better health outcomes, and lower health care costs. Medical homes are also associated with improved rates of receiving preventive care services, better management of chronic conditions, and reduced morbidity and mortality, especially among low-income patients.

Health Equity Connections and Accountable Care, Inc. (HECAC) will create a virtual medical home (VMH). By creating tailored navigation to health and wellness resources, HECAC’s system ensures fulfillment of two vital needs: connection to medical insurance and a medical home.

 HECAC will: 
• Divert at-risk populations from inappropriate and expensive care (e.g., ER use for episodic and non-emergent care), and instead navigate them to appropriate and less expensive care
• Connect subscribers to resources that will help them attain appropriate financial help, especially in gaining access to appropriate medical insurance programs
• Allow subscribers to evaluate community resources 
• Build a database of demographics, morbidity, and needs that can be utilized by stakeholders to pinpoint and evaluate resources
How it works: Subscribers will utilize a free, confidential, web-based portal that is fully or partially self-initiated (i.e., with assistance from health navigators or community health workers).

 HECAC’s portal system (CHANCE) will:

• Generate a tailored list of resources geared to address subscribers’ health and wellness needs, allowing them to establish internet contact to providers and providing a personalized Success Plan.
• Provide access to community resources associated with health and wellness using a “whole person” approach to evaluating needs
• Allow subscribers to evaluate providers, which verifies contact and helps identify provider strengths and weakness

Our Leadership

Our System

Our Solution

The Challenge

Utilization of Virtual Medical Homes and diversion from ER’s and nursing homes​ reduces the impact on payee systems and the impact of uncompensated care on providers and patients. For example, based on a report on Tampa General Hospital’s Emergency Department patient flow, we estimate HECAC could save a minimum of $2 million in Medicaid costs, just for physician costs, not including radiology, medicines and pathology in one hospital alone. By diverting uninsured patients to primary care, millions more will be saved in hospital losses due to uncompensated care annually. 

Cost Savings