For nonprofits of the health safety net, the times they are a-changin’

By College of Management1,173 Comments

The times are definitely a-changin’ for the leaders and the nonprofit organizations making up the health safety net.  As moderator/facilitator for Day #2 of the 2012 Healthy Safety Net Symposium of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) which just completed on Thursday, I learned more about their commitment and challenges of delivering on this mission of quality healthcare for all. This variety of nonprofits from across the State provide quality preventive and primary healthcare to anyone regardless of income or insurance. My respect for this experienced group dedicated volunteers, board members and staff (including many health providers) grows only larger.

The first day of the 2012 HSN Symposium provided an update on federal healthcare reform which largely consisted of many experienced and educated professionals concluding that we really don’t know what the US Supreme Course will do with the Affordable Care Act of 2010. My work on the 2102 HSN Symposium focused on the second day and our planning team decided to focus on things more in our control, that is, organizational sustainability and transformation of the health safety net organizations.  I served as moderator and facilitator for three panels of experts, practitioners and stakeholders who engaged the audience of about 250 for the entire day.

I started the day with some context on the topic of organizational sustainability. What it takes to sustain any nonprofit organization has been heavily examined, written about and discussed with some areas of consensus emerging. Though there is no one methodology coming forward, there is clear consensus that it all starts with leadership at both the executive and board level. A good example of a model for nonprofit sustainability comes from The TCC Group , a nationally recognized nonprofit consulting firm. The TCC Group has done extensive research on organizational sustainability at nonprofit organizations and developed what they refer to at The Sustainability Formula. In its simplest form, they present their formula as this:  “Leadership + Adaptability + Program Capacity = Sustainability”.

Leaders of healthy safety net (HSN) organizations know full well the realities of sustaining and transforming their nonprofit organizations however the pace of the real-time decision-making they engage in has exponentially increased.  Along with restructuring that all U.S. nonprofits today face (For nonprofits, time to end business-as-usual ) , the leaders of these safety net organizations have the added dynamic of operating in the midst of the historic change in healthcare reform. Given the lack of clarity on many key issues, they are in need of relevant, timely information to inform their vision and planning. This was an over-arching goal of the 2012 HSN Symposium.

Courses/Teaching, Nonprofit Management
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