Greetings from another beautiful day here in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at The 2016 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat! Over the past few days, we’ve discussed leadership in a changing health and human service market – and the importance of meta-leadership skills to make the ever-growing number of partnerships and collaborations successful.
To give us an up close and “personal” look at meta-leadership in action, Suzanne F. Clifford, Senior Vice President of Integrated Primary Care, Community Health Network (CHNw) in Indianapolis, shared an overview of the partnership map at their health system. In her presentation, Optimizing Your Strategy Through Collaboration: Building Systems That Work Through Partnerships, she discussed how CHNw, a non-profit health system with over 200 sites and affiliates throughout Central Indiana, is reinventing their consumer care and developing a new approach to population health management based on collaboration.
The organization’s list of partnerships and collaborations is extensive. An abbreviated list includes WTHR Have Hope Partnership, Fishers Mental Health Task Force, Neonatal Abstinence Project, Population Health Care Delivery Teams, Zero Suicide Movement, and Lutherwood Children’s Residential Treatment and Diagnostic Center. These different projects and programs take different forms with some being more formal agreements and others being more loose collaborations.
What does it take to build and consistently succeed when building these collaborations? Ms. Clifford identified seven key attributes, the first six of which cluster around what I see as normal challenges organizations face when forming collaborations, regardless of specialty:
- Leading change
- Creating win-win partnerships
- Understand the different cultures and approaches to treatment
- Creative thinking and problem solving
- Facilitation and mediation skills
- Speaking the language of your partners
- Measure results and create a solid business case – this is the hard part
It was number seven on Ms. Clifford’s list that stood out to me as an extremely high hurdle. We are seeing more and more organizations developing new initiatives – integrating primary and behavioral health care, developing service delivery models, exploring innovative contracts with payers – to improve services and optimize revenue. But making a “solid business case” for these “new and improved services” can be a challenge. To be successful in a value-based market, programs need to demonstrate the necessary improvements in population health with a focus on the quadruple AIM: an improved consumer experience, improved quality of care, improved provider/staff engagement, and the value-based need for reducing (or at least controlling) the per capita cost of health care.
To address this challenge, Ms. Clifford noted that you may need to “cobble together” funding until you can prove your business case, using any combination of fee-for-service (FSS), incentive and disincentive payments, bundled payments, value-based contracts, contracts with the areas that benefit by integrated care, grants, and donors. She noted:
How you get the money you need depends on the partnerships. You may have to get very creative, but there are ways. For us, our foundation put some money into the WTHR Have Hope Partnership. The Zero Suicide Movement was funded with grants and when it was successful and took off, people realized it was a great way to make social change and supported it through donations and other grants. For the Fishers Mental Health Task Force, we didn’t actually use any new dollars but encouraged the initial community partners to reallocate current resources and then after the media shared what we were doing, a lot of partners wanted to get involved and share their programs and expertise. For the Population Health Care Delivery Teams, a partnership called Primaria was formed to support value-based contracts…Sometimes you have to stretch the budget and fund a small demonstration project in order to convince a payer it’s a good idea, but there usually is funding out there through payment reform initiatives and grants.
For more of our coverage of Ms. Clifford’s work, check out How Do Meta-Leaders Create The Collaborations That Matter?. For more on the key competencies needed for executives leading their organizations into a new collaboration, see Leadership In Bridging The Primary Care Integration Divide – Advice From Meridian’s CEO, Hank Milius and Leadership In Health System ‘Relationship Development’ – Advice From The Providence Center’s Dale Klatzker.
And for more on how collaborations can reduce costs and improve care quality, check out the upcoming PsychU virtual forum, Achieving The Triple Aim Through Innovations In Care Management: Improving The Value Of Care In Mental Health, featuring Joseph Parks, MD, Director of Missouri MO HealthNet and Stephen Christian-Michaels, President and Chief Executive Officer, Family Services of Western Pennsylvania.