Getting Down to the Business of Providing Care

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to attend some fantastic gatherings of professionals from the spectrum of behavioral health and I/DD organizations across the country. Most recently I had the honor of presenting in New York at the NYSRA conference, in Pennsylvania at the RCPA conference, and in Illinois at the IARF conference. I value these events as chances to learn from people who have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of those they serve and to share my thoughts and experiences that can help them as they move into this new world of healthcare delivery.

Despite the uniqueness of each audience, one common theme emerged: Everyone is in the middle of change. Not just your agency or your state or even the population you serve. There are no simple remedies to help ease your transition, but there are lessons that can be learned and used. Some of the more critical lessons we discussed: Get your house in order, take a fresh look at every part of your organization, consider your role in your agency, and make sure you are meeting standards.

Our work of providing human services to people in need is becoming more business-like, and we need to manage as businesses with a people-first mission. The challenge is how to do this while remaining true to our ideals. Technology is key. To survive and thrive in the new landscape, you must support your agency with the technology that will enable you to manage your operations more agilely and enable you to participate in care coordination networks. You must manage your data to provide the information you need to make the right decisions for your clients and for your agency. Use the information available to you as an administrator, supervisor or practitioner, and begin to infuse this knowledge into your decision-making process so that you can improve your agency’s efficiency, stability, and quality of care.

Finally, know you’re not alone. Every state, and every agency, is going through this change. We can embrace it and thrive, reinvent the parts that need reinventing, tone what needs toning and emulate what works well. My colleagues and I at Foothold are here to help you navigate this brave new world.