Rising costs, shrinking budgets and increasing demands are pressuring local health departments to find innovative ways to do business. Some are turning to cross-jurisdictional sharing, which means they are working with other health departments to deliver essential services. By pooling resources, health departments can create economies of scale that expand capacity and/or save money.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) became interested in studying this approach several years ago. In 2012, they selected the Kansas Health Institute (KHI) to establish and manage the national Center for Sharing Public Health Services. The Center’s role is to better understand and show how cross-jurisdictional sharing improves the effectiveness and efficiency of the public health system.
KHI’s original grant from RWJF ended in September 2014. They recently awarded KHI a new grant of just over $500,000 that will allow the Center to continue its work through June 2015. Additional funding may become available for the Center after that time.
The Center is led by Gianfranco Pezzino, M.D., M.P.H., a senior fellow and strategy team leader at KHI, and Patrick Libbey, a former local public health official and former executive director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).
In 2013, the Center formed a learning community made up of 16 demonstration sites in 14 states that are exploring, planning and implementing cross-jurisdictional sharing arrangements. These sites involve 76 health departments serving 126 jurisdictions and tribes. The Center studies the work of the demonstration sites and combines their experiences with other resources and expert opinions to develop a knowledge base and tools to help communities considering or adopting cross-jurisdictional sharing arrangements.
The Center’s website – phsharing.org – contains a comprehensive library of resources and tools for communities considering this approach, including the Center’s Roadmap to Develop Cross-Jurisdictional Sharing Initiatives.
“KHI was selected for this national initiative, in large part, because of its experience supporting similar work among local health departments in Kansas,” Dr. Pezzino said. “In rural states like ours, limited resources often make it challenging to deliver essential public health services. Cross-jurisdictional sharing is one option that local health departments can implement to protect the health and well-being of the public.”
The Kansas Health Institute delivers credible information and research enabling policy leaders to make informed health policy decisions that enhance their effectiveness as champions for a healthier Kansas. The Kansas Health Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy and research organization based in Topeka, established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.
The Center for Sharing Public Health Services helps communities learn how to work across jurisdictional boundaries to deliver essential public health services. The Center serves as a national resource on cross-jurisdictional sharing (CJS), building the evidence and producing and disseminating tools, methods and models to assist public health agencies and policymakers as they consider and adopt CJS approaches. The Center is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is managed by the Kansas Health Institute.
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.