Sustaining and Transforming the Health Safety Net

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As renegotiation of healthcare rages on in the halls of Congress and the US Supreme Court, health safety net organizations find themselves in the midst of unprecedented change. Collectively referred to as the Safety Net, this array of charitable nonprofits provide “a significant level of health care and other related services to the uninsured, Medicaid and other vulnerable populations.”[i]  As I see it, successful transformation of the Safety Net is a benchmark for successful reform of the US healthcare system.

What will it look like? These charitable organizations face great risk during these times of unprecedented change. Buffeted by the dual forces of healthcare reform and the transformation of the traditional business model of the charitable nonprofit sector, Safety Net organizations are faced with simultaneously sustaining their charitable mission to deliver quality and affordable primary healthcare services to all. All while simultaneously re-evaluating their programs, the people they serve and, in some cases, their very existence.

The annual Healthy Safety Net (HSN) Symposiums were initiated in 2011 to convene all stakeholders who share the essential mission of the Safety Net and seek its successful transformation. The 2012 Healthy Safety Net Symposium (May 23-24, 3012; Lansing, MI) will share the latest information, research and best practices to support strategic, collaborative decision-making at these organizations.  Participants from across the State will spend two full days of collaborative information sharing and deliberative conversation among all stakeholders committed to the collective mission of these organizations. From Federal Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), Free/Rural/Migrant health clinics, hospitals and government agencies across Michigan, these are the leaders making the strategic decisions, in real-time, to transform their organizations and sustain their essential mission.

Jerry Lindman, J.D., Senior Lecturer and Director, Center for Nonprofit Management

 


[i] Institute of Medicine (IOM). America’s health care safety net: intact but endangered. Washington: Institute of Medicine; 2000

Nonprofit Management
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