The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is now accepting applications for the second round of Healthcare Transformation Collaboratives funding.Earlier this year, Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law the historic, equity-driven Healthcare Transformation plan, which is designed to create partnerships and bring entities together to find innovative ways to bridge gaps in the healthcare delivery system and increase access to quality healthcare services in underserved communities across Illinois. Entities in the healthcare industry along with community partners are encouraged to form collaboratives to apply for funding in support of those goals and to think creatively about how they and their partners would deliver solutions to the healthcare problems their communities face.The deadline to apply for the second round of funding is Nov. 19. Potential applicants can find more information on the Healthcare Transformation Collaboratives application on HFS’ website.Healthcare Transformation Collaboratives funding is meant for partnerships made up of multiple participating entities, which may include hospitals, medical providers, and non-medical providers of social services. The department encourages multiple collaborators per application. Successful collaborations will demonstrate in their proposal how the individual participating entities will work together and contribute to the execution of the interconnected project. Every member of the collaborative must be consulted and agree to participate before an application is submitted. Applicants will be asked to complete their application in Amplifund, an online award management system. Applying using Amplifund requires applicants to pre-register and meet certain requirements, the details of which can be found on the department’s application information page. Only the lead entity for each collaborative needs to pre-register and fill out the application in the Amplifund system. Applicants should also consult the Racial Equity Impact Assessment to ensure their proposal sufficiently addresses health inequities. More information about the assessment can be found in this guide.With support from federal matching funds, Illinois may invest up to $150 million annually in Healthcare Transformation Collaboratives. The first round of funding was awarded this summer, and the Department hopes to continue this program in future years with ongoing appropriations from the General Assembly.By law, prioritization is given to collaborations that included critical access hospitals and safety net hospitals, as well as to those that included minority- and women-owned business participation and community-based organizations majorly governed and managed by minorities. Projects seeking to improve specialty care or develop the workforce in underserved communities were also prioritized, as were proposals seeking to fill healthcare gaps in Illinois communities high on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social vulnerability index. Many of these partnerships are also targeting underlying health conditions in communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.HFS recently held a detailed webinar on the application process. The webinar, the application, and significant other information are all available at the department’s HTC website: htc.illinois.gov.