Public Health Directions: Spring 2012

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In the eight years since we began consulting, we have applied strategic thinking, innovative tools, rigorous research methodologies, scientific data and a holistic and collaborative approach to develop effective, targeted and trusted solutions with immediate and sustainable impact. We have worked with more than 130 clients, and satisfaction surveys show a positive impact on organizations’ capabilities and performance.

Taken together, our consulting areas—organizational development, financial management, information technology, research and evaluation, and marketing and communication—combine to provide virtually all it takes to build a strategic organizational infrastructure. Most important, in each of our areas of expertise we inform our work with our deep understanding of the nonprofit sector from our 40 years of managing programs and providing direct services.

“We wanted to create a consulting practice that was different from others, because ours would be informed by the actual practice of public health and human services,” says Richard J. Cohen, PHMC president and CEO, on the philosophy of Targeted Solutions. “Successfully managing PHMC and our affiliates, especially through tough times, developed our expertise in the skills and abilities that any agency needs to help ensure its viability. We use data-driven, strategic resources to address our core challenges and opportunities. Our desire is to provide other nonprofits with access to the same resources.”

Over time, Targeted Solutions has developed a focused strategy to appeal to certain audiences within the nonprofit sector. “We have always helped whomever we can,” says Amy Friedlander, who serves as managing director of management services, which houses PHMC’s Targeted Solutions consulting practice. “But sometimes we strategically reach out to specific segments of the market, such as health providers and early childcare educators.”

Our desire is to provide other nonprofits with access to the same resources we use.”

Often, these efforts involve collaborative relationships. Most recently, Targeted Solutions partnered with Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC) to bring affordable and time-saving resources and products to early childcare providers in our region. With funding and support from William Penn Foundation, Targeted Solutions and DVAEYC developed a shared services business model that helps early childcare providers attain new economies of scale to meet and sustain high-quality programming and services.

“We embarked on this partnership because we saw the need in the ECE [early childhood education] world,” says Friedlander. “We developed the products, and through DVAEYC we reach that market. They have the attention of the ECE community, while we have the software and web-based solutions and the consulting experience around infrastructure.”

In the past, Targeted Solutions partnered with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s AIDS Activities Coordinating Office on a US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health grant to provide capacity building and technical assistance to minority-serving, community-based AIDS organizations. Later this year, Targeted Solutions will join forces with PHMC’s Information Systems component to bring targeted consulting services to specialty healthcare providers who seek to implement electronic health records in their practices but do not qualify for the federally funded technical assistance and support offered through the Pennsylvania Regional Extension Center (PA-REACH), with which PHMC also is involved.

tht_headshot PHMC Chief Strategy Officer Tine Hansen-Turton’s job is to help keep PHMC on the growth side of the ledger, a role well suited for her kinetic pace. She’s been head of the strategy office since November, when PHMC created the area as part of its new strategic plan and organizational restructuring.

Public Health Directions sat down with Hansen-Turton to talk about the strategy office’s role, her sense of PHMC’s direction and a few lessons learned from her Danish upbringing.

QJust to start with you, what’s your background professionally?
What’s your track?

AI joined PHMC in 2002, when the board of the National Nursing Centers Consortium and I decided that it would be an important strategic move to join forces with PHMC, which had also been a founding member of the organization.

Stepping back, the reason I came was really the strength of PHMC. It’s an organization that has a nice capacity in terms of all the back office support that you need. In many nonprofits executive directors often get stuck dealing with management and fiscal crisis issues. All that clouds your ability to run an organization well, as it zaps your energy from the critical work of your mission. If you’re a part of PHMC it frees you up as an executive director—whatever agency you run—to focus on what your real, true mission is and growing your organization. This is exactly what happened when we brought NNCC into the PHMC fold; NNCC grew, as my staff and I were able to focus on our policy and development work.

When did you transition over to becoming a PHMC employee?

AThe affiliate structure at PHMC is such that you are a PHMC employee from the get-go, but I began to have broader official responsibilities in about 2006 when I also became the vice president of policy and access. When you’re part of an organization you should always think about opportunities to grow your work; becoming a senior staff member within PHMC was a reflection of how NNCC and my staff had worked with many different groups within the organization, creating win-win situations, raising program funding for different divisions and enhancing access to care for patients in the region and beyond—as well as supporting PHMC policy work at all levels of government.

Our reorganization is all about incentivizing people to think broadly and create win-win opportunities for each other. For example, it doesn’t really matter whether you get funding for something that benefits somebody else within PHMC, as long as you are still recognized for it and there’s a benefit back to you. That kind of philosophy is in my backbone and it’s the kind of thing that [CEO] Richard [Cohen] wants throughout the organization. It’s an overall strategy that benefits our corporation and the future of PHMC.

Our reorganization is all about incentivizing people to think broadly and create win-win opportunities for each other.”

QWhen the office was created, what did Richard Cohen give to you as a number one priority or number one goal?

AOver the last 18 months we’ve had our strategic planning process and that’s a very important part of the story and creation of a strategy office and team. Through the planning process we involved all levels of the organization and that included looking at where the opportunities were.

So we did the usual analysis: What are we good at? What are we not good at? What are the things we need to focus on infrastructure-wise in the organization to be able to grow?

The strategy office opens the doors with a nice outline of the issues we have to tackle and it’s exciting. Our goals are: making sure our businesses are aligned across the organization, that we have the right infrastructure to support growth internally and externally, and then, within that, assuring that we have quality programs that enhance the quality of life for the thousands of people we touch throughout the region and beyond. We know where we want to go!

What's in store in 2012 for PHMC's strategy focus?

AAlong with Richard and the other officers, our job is to work with our great team of managing directors who are responsible for growing their business areas and working with one another to realign all that we do. This is a big task, as we have such a wide and diverse portfolio of services under our public health rubric: primary care, health promotion, social services, behavioral health services, early childhood and after-school service support, workforce and education, research and evaluation, technical assistance, trade association management and so forth.

Our teams have come up with some exciting new strategies that we are launching this year, connecting all we do internally, creating better client referral systems throughout the corporation fielding customer service satisfaction surveys across groups, as well as assuring that our workforce has the skills they need to better serve our client population.

Externally, our teams are focusing on expanding existing business and bringing new business into PHMC, working with Richard and his vision of what needs to grow and looking at organizations we potentially want to partner with, where they can bring something to us and we can bring something to them.

QIs the adoption of a corporate outlook unique to PHMC among nonprofits or is that a movement you see happening other places?

AI would say we’ve always had a CEO who was extremely entrepreneurial. That’s how we’ve grown. It’s part of the DNA of PHMC and why we have grown.

I think there’s a trend nationally at some nonprofits to think that way. What I’m not seeing in the whole nonprofit sector is the idea of merging and affiliating with other organizations. It’s not happening enough.

Even in an environment where important small nonprofits and even midsize nonprofits sadly are closing their doors, there’s often not a discussion at the leadership or board level of “Can we partner with an organization or merge or affiliate with an organization to thrive?” Our foundation community and others really need to work on this issue—and several in our region are doing so.

So I would say it’s happening in some groups, but not consistently across the board.

QDo you ever feel that, when you say we’re going to bring a more corporate outlook to PHMC, some people are scared off?

AI think you have to tell the staff that a corporate outlook is really to ensure that we can continue to meet our mission, which is to serve people and enhance their overall quality of life. You have to marry the two.

Ultimately, if we’re healthy and we’re growing, we’re no doubt going to be a stronger partner in the community we’re serving.

If You Work Together, All Boats Will Rise

Where does the name "Tine" come from?

AIt’s Danish. I was born and raised just outside Copenhagen, Denmark. I come from a national philosophy that if you work together, all boats will rise. And I think that’s really what we’re trying to do here at PHMC. In 1989 I came to the US to study and was smitten by the American entrepreneurial spirit—always in pursuit of opportunities—and it’s the same spirit I love about PHMC. You can be entrepreneurial, business minded and yet do good work with and for such a diverse group of people and program areas. It’s what makes this fun and rewarding!

PHMC’s managing director of Organizational Development and Community Partnerships, Beth Shuman, likes to think big—big as in PHMC University, a centralized web-based system that rapidly delivers, manages and supports professional development, policy and compliance initiatives; big as in the groundbreaking partnerships PHMC formed in 2009 with Drexel University’s School of Public Health and later with Bryn Mawr College’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research to offer its staff advanced degree opportunities.

“We have several hundred programs and services for our 1,400 employees,” Shuman says. “We do it in a very innovative way to meet whatever need is happening in our region and in the country.”

As chief human resource officer, in charge of paying, recruiting and retaining employees, Celeste Collins’s job is to simplify all of that. “It’s really simple for me. Recruiting is simple in concept, though it may not be easy all the time. It really needs to be aligned with mission and it requires a diverse group of highly qualified individuals. That has always been my focus and my philosophy.”

What began in a few service sectors expanded to include partnerships with over 250 experts, outside organizations and academic institutions, culminating in a comprehensive training model that was continually adapting and expanding.

In their extremes, Shuman and Collins represent the dual goals of PHMC’s employee recruitment, retention and development approaches under the strategic plan—grow but grow together, think broadly but also think cohesively.

For Shuman and Collins, these ideas run deep.

In 2006, Shuman started developing a complex and wide-reaching employee development program called Training at PHMC. What began in a few service sectors expanded to include partnerships with over 250 experts, outside organizations and academic institutions, culminating in a comprehensive training model that was “continually adapting and expanding,” says Shuman.

Expansion included efforts like the Drexel and Bryn Mawr partnerships as well as developing synergies with the new PHMC affiliate Metropolitan Career Center. With PHMC University, the organization is launching its largest and most ambitious employee development program to date.

“What started as a series of workshops and trainings in the field of human services grew into a more expansive way to provide training for our staff,” Shuman says. “We have a very diverse staff.”

Given that diversity, Collins has developed initiatives to help ensure unity and common direction.

PHMC-wide workplace policies, pay scales and performance evaluation systems promote a sense of organizational cohesion. With PHMC expanding its affiliate network, maintaining continuity becomes increasingly important.

To that end Collins helped implement Success: Performance, Engagement, Alignment & Knowledge (known as SPEAK), a performance management tool brought in to create a uniform evaluation system for all PHMC staff and replace a model that was over two decades old.

Collins explains that clear and evenly applied standards lead to better employee satisfaction and retention. “Employees are looking for equity in rewarding employee performance,” Collins says.

She envisions further enhancements, including greater automation of the processes to make them even more efficient.

For now, Collins is happy to be tying together the growing and diversifying needs of PHMC’s workforce. She knows her work gives PHMC employees incentive to stay at the company and grow with its mission.

“Pay and benefits are certainly important, but career advancement, opportunity and a passion for our mission are the reasons people come here and stay here,” she says.

This spring, Public Health Management Corporation’s Community Health Data Base (CHDB) conducts its 13th Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, a major regional telephone survey examining the health, well-being and healthcare experiences of residents of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties. The survey provides a unique population-based resource for Southeastern Pennsylvania. More than 350 nonprofits, hospitals, academic institutions, government agencies and other organizations use its data to plan and sustain public health initiatives, to advocate for programs that support health and to better understand the factors that influence the health of adults and children throughout our region. In 2012, as healthcare reform continues to roll out, CHDB will focus on understanding access to care and the healthcare experiences of adults and children in communities throughout the region. The 2012 survey will examine health insurance coverage and highlight the experiences of the uninsured.

For information on becoming a CHDB member or affiliate, with special access to the data, please call 215.985.2548.

Did you know that PHMC and its affiliates serve more than 123,000 people in the Delaware Valley annually? Thanks to a strategic new measure that efficiently connects clients to services, PHMC’s 1,400 employees will be able to better serve the various needs of a broad client base. In June 2012, PHMC will introduce a new referral system that will more effectively connect users accessing PHMC-based services to the entire breadth of its capabilities.

“We wanted to ensure that a process exists whereby consumers can access our full range of programs, everything from primary care to social services,” says Melissa Fox, managing director of health at PHMC. Fox leads PHMC’s Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, Health Care for the Homeless programs and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

PHMC’s organization-wide referral system will work hand in hand with an effort led by researchers from PHMC’s Community Health Data Base, who have collaborated since the summer of 2009 with programmers in our Information Systems component to create a data warehouse. Dubbed PHMC Connect, it gathers data from across PHMC’s program databases and standardizes outcome collection to provide a clear snapshot of the populations PHMC serves.

This summer, PHMC Connect will pilot an identification card for select PHMC programs to track clients and how they use PHMC services. “It can be challenging to track PHMC clients if they come in for a single care incident,” says Francine Axler, senior program director in PHMC’s Research and Evaluation Group and head of the Community Health Data Base. “We hope that through PHMC Connect we have a better understanding of how clients use our services, and thus can effectively refer them to additional services they may need.” PHMC is promoting the new referral system internally through PHMC First, a campaign that will help ensure all employees are strategically aligned with bringing the broad range of PHMC’s offerings to all their clients who can benefit from them.

Through PHMC Connect, researchers hope not only to provide future services based on outcome data, but also to collect satisfaction measures. “PHMC Connect helps us as an organization to tell our story more effectively,” says Axler. “And it helps us connect our clients with the services they need.” Fox agrees. “We’re being challenged as care providers to bring services directly to clients in their communities,” she says. “Through our new integrated care model, PHMC aims to surround our clients with care that keeps them safe, happy and healthy.”