Written by Rachel Tobey, Director, JSI San Francisco
Just in case any attendee of the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting thought San Francisco wouldn’t be all that exciting, our SF Giants managed to throw in a sweep of the World Series on the first day of the conference.
In my role as director of San Francisco’s JSI office, I have to confess I know almost nothing about baseball. However, our office does seem to know about the juggling act that so many public health leaders feel these days as they navigate the tectonic shifts in the policy environment under Health Reform, challenging economic times, and public health and policy issues—from obesity to payment reform — that feel as pressing, if not more pressing, than ever. “I feel like I am juggling more balls than ever before, and some of them are on fire,” a health safety-net leader reflected to me a few months ago.
While these are seismic times in healthcare, it is also a thrilling moment to be working in the public health field because change is occurring at far from geologic speed. A few recent projects in the JSI San Francisco office highlight this pace of change and JSI’s participation in all phases of the process.
Santa Clara County HIV Prevention and Care
Over the past two years, JSI has worked closely with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (PHD) to move through a robust planning process to implementation in the area of HIV prevention and care. In 2011, JSI worked with the PHD to develop the 2012-2014 Comprehensive HIV Prevention & Care Plan for the San Jose, CA Transitional Grant Area. This work included gathering input from a range of stakeholders, conducting a needs assessment, providing technical assistance to ensure the plan incorporated best practices, and helping the HIV Planning Council to articulate goals and objectives and develop a detailed work plan for achieving them. The County set right to work in pursuing their objectives. This year JSI’s Social Media and Social Marketing team is assisting the Santa Clara County Public Health Department in rolling out one of the key actions identified in the planning process: a social marketing campaign to encourage HIV and STD testing in the County. We look forward to seeing the bus ads, movie theater trailers, and social media campaign launch next year!
When the Health Trust, a charitable foundation in Silicon Valley, won an obesity prevention Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant from the Public Health Department, Fred Ferrer, CEO of the Health Trust, told stakeholders, “This change is going to be FAST.” And indeed it was. In the course of just one year, the Health Trust led a team of grant partners from City of San Jose Planning and Parks and Recreation Departments, the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association, First Five, and ChangeLab Solutions to identify and implement policy changes to increase access to healthy fresh food in San Jose’s low-income neighborhoods. JSI served as a project manager and communications expert throughout the process. We also got to celebrate recently when the San Jose City Council adopted a new ordinance — drafted by the grant partners — that will make it easier for Farmers Markets to come to San Jose’s low-income neighborhoods.
Payment Reform for California’s Community Health Centers
Over a year and a half ago, the California Primary Care Association, representing over 800 community clinics and health centers that see almost 5 million patients across the state, contracted with JSI to conduct research into alternative payment methods that would support delivery system transformation and would move health centers toward a value-based, not just volume-based, payment system. The sea change that has occurred in the health center community between last year and this year can be encapsulated in my experience at the Annual California Primary Care Association conferences in 2011 vs. 2012. Last year, I heard countless comments from conference attendees that went something like: “We absolutely have to do something with payment reform, and we have no idea what. Payment reform feels scary.” By contrast, this year, the JSI table hummed with conference attendees coming by and saying things to the tune of: “I have a question/thought/comment about the payment reform models being discussed. How can I learn more and participate in piloting the alternative payment models?” JSI continues to collaborate with CPCA and state partners such as the California Association of Public Hospitals and the Department of Healthcare Services in advancing thoughtful payment reform models that will support a safety-net delivery system that achieves better care, better quality and improved cost-effectiveness for all.
Whether it’s facilitating movement from research to piloting of payment reform, incorporating stakeholder feedback in an HIV prevention and care plan, or managing rapid change to impact the obesity epidemic, the JSI San Francisco team is delighted to be assisting California’s public health leaders to execute their juggling acts with more ease and less fire.