New Opportunities for Collaborative Solutions with Hospitals and Health Care Systems Emerging from Obama’s Affordable Care Act

Applying our coalition building knowledge to this critical emerging practice –an example  from my  training for Atlantic Health Systems in New Jersey.

As all the phases of Obama’s Affordable Care Act start to kick in, hospitals and health care systems across the country are scurrying to meet the community benefit demands of the act. These require hospitals to address community needs. The new guidelines from the IRS also demand  that hospitals do this as a requirement of their IRS non- profit status. This creates even more pressure on the hospitals. Thus most hospitals are engaged in building a coalition of community partners to accomplish the first two phase –a Community Health Assessment and a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). They would then move on to taking steps to address the identified needs and implement their CHIP Plan.

If done well, this creates great opportunities for hospitals to create meaningful partnerships with not only community entities but also community residents – those most affected by the identified issues. More important it is great impetus to move our health care systems out of a narrow focus on remediation and to broaden the community’s approach to preventive health care and systems.

Whether that will happen will depend on whether the thousands of community efforts that get launched can build on what we know works to build successful community coalitions focused on public health issues. Knowing that our zip code may be more important than our genetic code in determining our health, we can hope that these new efforts will focus on what we have learned about the importance of the Social Determinants of Health.

One Example: Atlantic Health System

Last fall I have the wonderful opportunity to present a workshop entitled Building Successful Coalitions to Create Healthy Communities to the Atlantic Health System the largest health system in New Jersey and one of the largest in the NorthEast. I had the Community Outreach Directors from most of the Atlantic Health hospitals in the workshop and we were able to explore many of the issues, barriers and tools for this new mandated community engagement process. The materials were mainly drawn from The Power of Collaborative Solutions and followed the workshop agenda below.

Workshop Agenda:

  • Welcome
    • Goals, Agenda
    • Collaboration Building
    • Stand and Declare – what do we believe about collaboration? Exercise
    • How is collaboration a part of your work today?
    • Experiences in collaborations – positive and negative
    • Continuum of Collaboration – which do you use?
    • Collaborative Solutions
    • Collective Impact - shortcomings
    • Barriers
  • Engaging the community in your collaboration
    • Who to involve?
    • Who do you have involved now?
    • Who do you need to involve to reach your goals?
    • How will you recruit them?
    • Stakeholder analysis
    • What is their self interest?
    • Develop a plan
    • How will you retain them?
  • Sustainability
    • Common myths of sustainability
    • Four approaches to sustainability
    • Deciding what needs to be sustained
      • Sustaining outcomes (external)
      • Sustaining membership and structure (internal)
    • Develop a sustainability plan

New Resource for Hospitals:

One excellent new resource from my old colleague Tyler Norris (Vice President of Total Health Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente):

Can Hospitals Heal America’s Communities? By Tyler Norris and Ted Howard

This is a must read.

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spring 2016 Issue

  • My recent editorial in the Global Journal of Community Psychology

  • Sustainability Revisited with Avenir D’Enfants in Quebec

  • New Opportunities for Collaborative Solutions with Hospitals and Health Care Systems Emerging from Obama’s Affordable Care Act

  • Key Informant Interviews

  • Connect to Protect

  • New Resources

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