How to Shape Partnerships to Solve Problems for Servicing Seniors

At the 2017 MACo Winter Conference attendees learned about how counties are working to administer limited resources and  leverage public and private partnerships in order to improve care coordination and achieve better outcomes for their senior residents.

Joanne Williams, Director of Aging for Baltimore County, started her presentation by noting that “necessity is the mother of all invention” and how a change in the funding climate over the years, paired with a growth in the number of seniors to serve, has taxed the limited resources and forced them to look towards inventive solutions.

She then launched into a discussion about how Baltimore County is working outside of the box partnering with internal, departmental, and external stakeholders to provide innovative services to their residents. Joanne also presented on the county’s Hospital to Home program as an example of one of a successful partnership.

From left to right: Joanne Williams, Morgan DeWeese, Linda Willis, Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes
From left to right: Joanne Williams, Morgan Deweese, Linda Willis, Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes

Linda Willis and Morgan Deweese, Director and Resource manager for the Cecil County Department of Aging respectively, jointly presented on the importance of partnerships in applying for grants and deep-dived into a case study of Cecil’s Hospital to Home program.

Linda stressed that forming and solidifying relationships with local stakeholders is essential before grant opportunities or unexpected complications in the field arise. She then highlighted a community crisis that brought the Department of Aging and Emergency Management together to generate and execute a solution.

Morgan continued the discussion by focusing on the county’s Hospital to Home program. She walked through how the partnerships were formed and how the stakeholders worked together in a short amount of time to apply for and execute the grants noting the key steps along the way required for shaping the program, targeting the participants, and tracking the outcomes.

A note on the Hospital to Home grant program: while many counties took advantage of the state administered grant opportunity each did so in a way that would work best with their residents.

Joanne shared that in Baltimore County the program helps target frequent flyers for hospital service and includes a coordinator on site at Northwest Hospital to meet with each patient to determine their service needs following discharge back to his or her community. The hope is that once the state grant funding ends the hospital will find the program beneficial enough to continue though a funding partnership with the county.

Morgan shared that in Cecil County the Hospital to Home partnership was formed with Union Hospital and targets the Medicaid and dually-eligible populations. There are staff members co-located at the hospital three days a week to provide hands on help with the individual and warm hand-offs to community services.

This session was moderated by Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes. The MACo Winter Conference was held December 6-8, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme was  “The Power of Partnership.”