Refocusing the collaborative: how the national workgroup on integration transformed for the better.

Author:Light, Anita

In April APHSA launched the National Collaborative for Integration of Health and Human Services (the National Collaborative) to advance and accelerate the benefits of horizontal integration of health and human services. The National Collaborative has its genesis in the National Workgroup on Integration (NWI). As a result of that work over the past three years, the Collaborative will now expand its scope and reach by highlighting best practices of integration, providing technical assistance to state and local members who recognize the need to transform their agency. The Collaborative will also expand networks and partnerships of public, nonprofit, business, academic, foundation, and other health and human service stakeholders to advance principles of integration, and promote policies and practices that support an integrated health and human service enterprise.

The United States continues to change rapidly in many areas--the economy, social structures, demographics, communication, and other major sectors that bear directly on our collective national success and well-being. These broad changes are also directly affecting health and human services, challenging us to rapidly increase the effectiveness and value of our work.

In partnership with communities across the nation, our agencies are already creatively generating solutions for the many needs and concerns in human services through dynamic leadership, path-breaking partnerships, and new answers to old problems. We are excited and optimistic about the unprecedented opportunities we have--for innovation, alternative funding models, and breakthrough technologies. These new approaches, tools, and relationships are converging to transform our work--from a system focused on outputs, rigid categories, and outmoded business techniques to one that creates community-wide change and supports meaningful and sustainable, person-centered outcomes. These dramatic shifts are lifting individuals and families toward independence, adding value to communities, strengthening families, and achieving more at less cost--positive changes that bring new value to all of us.

APHSA has long recognized that integrating the health and human service system is a long-term and complex body of work. For decades, the current operating systems have solidified their siloed administration and regulatory structure and will not easily be changed. Significant strides toward integration have been made, but our members want and need...

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