Community-based organizations’ perspectives on improving health and social service integration
BMC Public Health
Background: Collaborations between health systems and community-based organizations (CBOs) are increasingly common mechanisms to address the unmet health-related social needs of high-risk populations. However, there is limited evidence on how to develop, manage, and sustain these partnerships, and implementation rarely incorporates perspectives of community social service organizations. To address these gaps, we elicited CBOs’ perspectives on service delivery for clients, the impact of the Whole Person Care-Los Angeles (WPC-LA) initiative to integrate health and social care, and their suggestions for improving health system partnerships. Methods: Using stakeholder engaged principles and a qualitative Rapid Assessment Process, we conducted brief surveys and in-depth semi-structured interviews with 65 key informants from 36 CBOs working with WPC-LA. Results: Major themes identified by CBOs included: 1) the importance of a holistic, client-centered, continuously engaged approach that is reliant on regional partnerships; 2) benefits of WPC-LA expanding capacity and networks; 3) concerns about communication and redundancy hindering WPC-LA; and 4) a need for more equitable partnerships incorporating their approaches. Conclusions: CBOs value opportunities for integration with health systems, bring critical expertise to these partnerships, and seek to strengthen cross-sector collaborations. Early, equitable, and inclusive participation in the development and implementation of these partnerships may enhance their effectiveness, but requires policy that prioritizes and incentivizes sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships.
Agonafer EP, Carson SL, Nunez V, et al. Community-based organizations’ perspectives on improving health and social service integration. BMC Public Health. 2021;21(1):452. doi:10.1186/s12889-021-10449-w