A new report recently released by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities sheds light on the scope, benefits, and challenges of partnerships between health care entities and organizations in the Alliance network. This report is based on a comprehensive request for information (RFI) conducted by the Alliance in 2019 to gain insight on how to support collaboration between health care and community-based human services organizations.

Increasingly embraced by health care, and a key strategy for the Alliance and its network, is engaging community-based organizations in addressing a range of social factors as a means for improving patient health and well-being and reduce health care costs.

The report showcases organizations’ interests, successes, benefits, and challenges by addressing four overarching themes for each of four partnership categories.

Overarching Themes

  • Strategic Prioritization of Health Care Partnerships
  • Benefits of Health Care Partnerships
  • Contract Acquisition
  • Challenges of Health Care Partnerships

Partnership Categories

  • Planners. Organization in the exploratory stage.
  • Collaborators. Member of a collective group that includes health care partner(s).
  • Network Providers. One of multiple providers of uniform contracted services.
  • Exclusive Providers. Sole provider of contracted services

Among key findings, the report notes that important progress is being made in quantifying cost savings achieved through health care partnerships. Among Network Provides, 20% have realized quantified cost savings, and 38% of Exclusive Providers have achieved this. The increase points to the importance and role of developing customized interventions with health care partners to achieve impact.

Also notable, the RFI found that organizations in all the health care partnership categories experienced positive benefits in strategic and capacity building competencies:

  • Network Building
  • Generating New Business Opportunities
  • Generating New Funding
  • Patient Care
  • Program Development

Report Recommendations 

Based on RFI findings, the Alliance offers several recommendations for building upon current work and accelerating progress in health care engagement across the partnership categories. Among these recommendations are: 

  • The need for funders and payors to understand the complexity of the CBO experience with health care and how additional support services can improve the health of communities. 
  • The need for community-based organizations to employ strategic planning tools, complete an environmental scan of their local health care ecosystem, and invest in expanding current capacity toward sustainable partnerships. 

Read all the recommendations in the full report, along with commentary from the Alliance on how it will be supporting the recommendations and its network.  

Download the full report  or executive summary

To connect with other members engaged in health care partnerships and stay up to date on Alliance opportunities in this area, join the Health and Human Services Intersection Alliance Peer Exchange group by updating your account. Then join the conversation in the Alliance’s online learning community.