Lack of communication and interaction across agencies serving children with special health care needs (CSHCN) emerged as one of the most striking findings from the pilot project of the California Community Care Coordination Collaborative (5Cs), a group of coalitions working in communities across the state to improve local systems of care coordination. This fragmentation contributes to the uncoordinated nature of care for CSHCN in California.
As a result, leaders of the county coalitions involved in the 5Cs spent significant time and energy building relationships and encouraging dialogue among their membership. The simple act of having a set monthly meeting during which care coordination for CSHCN was discussed proved significant. Other activities included having a different organization serving CSHCN present information about its eligibility requirements and processes during the monthly coalition meeting, and encouraging each coalition member to give a 30-second update from the organization they represented at each meeting.
To capture the possible effects of these activities, and assess the functioning and level of engagement of their county coalition over time, one member of the Collaborative, which is funded by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, developed a measurement tool called the Collaborative Checklist (PDF) adapted from the Bridgespan report “Needle-Moving Community Collaboratives: A Promising Approach to Addressing America’s Biggest Challenges” (PDF). Six of the county coalitions involved in the 5Cs used this tool to assess their evolution over the grant period.
The tool is designed to be completed by each member of a county coalition. Each set of individual scores are then aggregated. The tool covered three domains, called out in the Bridgespan Group report as being vital for community collaboratives based on a review of the work of over 100 groups, including 12 that had made significant impacts on challenging community issues. These areas were: Core Operating Principles of Community Collaboration, Characteristics of Success and Supportive Resources. The hope in using this assessment tool was that over the course of the grant period, the coalitions would see improvements in these important areas. In the next blog post about lessons learned through the 5Cs project, some of the initial improvements county coalitions have experienced will be described.