Capacity Building

Helping Foundations Use Leadership Development to Spark Cross-Sector Partnering

Black and white photo of leadership in company helping other foundations

The transition in healthcare from more is better to better is better is amplifying the need to strengthen connections among multiple provider types, payers, and consumers so we can improve the quality and experience of healthcare while driving down costs. At the same time, industry leaders are acknowledging that health means more than medical care – social, physical, and economic factors all have an impact on health. With the social determinants of health in mind, the integration of community-based organizations into the healthcare continuum is becoming a key strategy for improving the health of populations and lowering medical care spending. For two of our foundation clients focused on health and aging services, investing in partnerships between community-based organizations and healthcare entities means investing in achieving new potential across the healthcare system.

The Highlights

  • We partnered with a top independent expert in healthcare economics, healthcare leadership and management capacity-building to deliver a program that would help our clients’ grantees better take advantage of emerging trends and maximize their own contributions in active partnerships with healthcare providers and payers
  • As part of this initiative that included both classroom learning and individualized application, our onsite programs for two foundations have helped 19 community-based organizations learn more about the business of healthcare and build new skills in areas such as service design, contract negotiations, pricing models, and cross-sector partnership development
  • By providing a program focused on organizational capacity-building, our foundation clients positioned their CBO grantees to enter into formal partnerships with healthcare organizations with the potential to improve home and community based care for tens of thousands of seniors each year

The Opportunity

With the definition of health broadening to include not only medical services, but social and environmental factors as well, we see more and more progressive foundations embracing this shift and looking for ways to lead in this trend. In particular, for two of our foundation clients, we have seen firsthand how they can bring community-based organizations and healthcare service providers and payers together to deliver better, more integrated care to the people they serve. These clients recognized that in order to create and strengthen cross-sector partnerships, they could enable CBO grantees to be better aligned with healthcare organizations by building their leadership and systems capacities.

When our clients looked at the health system and asked, “What’s next?” they saw incredible opportunity to help CBOs better understand the business side of the healthcare sector and develop the leadership skills and structures that could support new models of care delivery, cross-sector partnerships, and organizational growth.

The Approach

Collaborative Consulting joined forces with a leading independent expert in healthcare leadership to help our health-focused foundation clients empower CBOs with capacity-building, business-focused initiatives to catalyze new partnerships. Our solution combined our partner’s MBA-style classes with our own on-the-ground implementation services delivered directly to our clients’ grantees. We supported these initiatives with the tools, knowledge and skills development the grantees needed to make their own organizations attractive, aligned partners for healthcare providers and payers.

To help bring our foundation clients’ strategies to life and build momentum for cross-sector partnerships, we:

  • Used design thinking to integrate organizational strengths, external market analyses and the needs of each community’s consumers to identify the best models for development
  • Helped build internal capacity for performing environmental scanning to more deeply understand the healthcare market and existing opportunities
  • Designed assessment tools that allowed each CBO to conduct a self-assessment from multiple perspectives, such as leadership, operations, new model design, marketing and sales, and board development
  • Consulted on how CBOs could best articulate a unique value proposition to prospective healthcare provider and payer partners
  • Collaboratively designed new service delivery models to align with the objectives of healthcare providers and payers
  • Supported organizational restructuring so leadership teams would be better able to take advantage of emerging trends and maximize their own contributions in partnership engagements

The Potential Realized

One of our foundation clients supported a first cohort of six CBO grantees to sign more than 27 contracts with healthcare providers with the potential to serve more than 16,000 consumers annually. The CBOs who participated in our client’s program built new leadership capabilities, improved their infrastructure to increase operational efficiency, and transformed their internal cultures to embrace the business side of health.

We are still deep in the implementation phase with another foundation, working with eight of their CBOs to develop capacities and apply new leadership skills to help them build alliances and partnerships with the healthcare sector. Stay tuned as we continue helping these organizations realize their potential.

For both of these foundations, their new health services partners and the people they serve, we see the pay-off from investing in skills building, leadership training, and cross-sector partnership development coming to fruition in the form of true medical-social integration.

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Lori Peterson

Lori launched Collaborative Consulting in 2010. With experience in the healthcare industry and a psychology and organizational development background, Lori’s focus areas include cross-sector partnership development, multi-stakeholder initiative design and facilitation, and change activation and implementation.