4 lessons from regional health improvement partnerships

Regional Health Improvement Collaboratives (RHICs) comprising providers, payers, employers and consumers can help states and local governments set healthcare policy that works for everyone involved, according to an issue brief from the Milbank Memorial Fund.

Case studies of private-public partnerships in Oregon, Colorado, Louisiana and Massachusetts showed that developing "new models of care delivery and population health requires a combination of public policy leadership and the ability to build trust locally and establish capabilities through a multi-stakeholder governance model," according to the issue brief.

Among the lessons derived from discussion of those case studies:

  • States can be catalysts for change, with RHICs as conveners, to reduce the perception that change is coming top-down from states with too much say in the process.
  • State government can determine what should happen in healthcare, but engagement from multiple stakeholders is necessary to determine what's needed at the local level, including capabilities needed to reform delivery and payment systems.
  • Data from the state, which purchases employee health plans and manages Medicaid populations, combined with data from private purchasers and consumers can provide a richer source of information to improve population health.
  • Cultural differences between the public and private sectors "must be acknowledged and overcome" to sustain the "authenticity and dynamics of collaboration."

States and RHICs can unite around common goals if a structured governance and partnership model is in place and appropriate efforts are made to sustain it, the issue brief concluded.

At the local level, nonprofits and hospitals also should explore partnerships with community organizations to address the socioeconomic issues that affect population health, FierceHealthcare previously reported. HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Medical Center in Phoenix, for example, partners with a nonprofit community development group that develops affordable housing and educates homebuyers.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has tackled the issue by helping fund the "Going Beyond Clinical Walls" series of white papers from the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. As FierceHealthcare noted, the white papers look at how healthcare leaders can leverage community resources to better manage population health.

To learn more:
- read the issue brief (.pdf)
- here's an announcement from Milbank