By Holly Henry, PhD
It's often said that money isn't everything. Two coalitions that are members of the California Community Care Coordination Collaborative (5Cs) are proving that's the case.
5Cs coalitions operate throughout the state, bringing together local families and agencies to work on improving the system of care for children with special health care needs in their communities.
The Rural Children's Special Health Coalition, which operates in Shasta, Siskiyou and Trinity Counties, got its start with seed money from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health. Led by Wendy Longwell of Rowell Family Empowerment of Northern California, the coalition has met monthly since April of 2013 to discuss issues of importance to CSHCN and their families. Although funding will run out in March 2015, the coalition plans to continue to meet quarterly, with members offering their agency meeting space on a rotating basis. Of particular note, the coalition has partnered with the local Medi-Cal managed-care organization, which provides representatives to attend every meeting. The coalition is currently developing a toolkit to help families and providers understand how local mental health services for children with special health care needs are organized.
"Everyone who is part of our coalition feels strongly about continuing the work we have started," says Wendy Longwell. "We have built a collaboration among agencies that we have never had before!"
Further south, in Monterey County, the Children with Special Health Care Needs Care Coordination Collaborative has been active since August of 2013. With mentorship from Marc Thibault of the Kern County Medically Vulnerable Care Coordination Project, but no financial support, this coalition has engaged more than 45 participants. The coalition also has been successful in partnering with the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program to develop a .75 FTE position for a Public Health Nurse to serve as the Medically Vulnerable Infant and Child Case Coordinator. The group continues to meet monthly under the direction of Dyan Apostolos, Assistant Public Health Bureau Chief.
These two coalitions are a testament to the value of bringing together committed stakeholders interested in improving care coordination for CSHCN at the local level, even in the absence of outside funding.
To learn more about how to establish a coalition in your region, contact Holly Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org.