November 2, 2018

October Learning Symposium

The Greater Columbia ACH Staff attended the October 24, 2018 Learning Symposium in SeaTac, Washington. Attendees from all Accountable Communities of Health (ACH) across Washington State, the Health Care Authority (HCA) and partnering organizations gathered to learn how to work together to advance community and health systems change within the Medicaid Transformation Demonstration Project.

Throughout the full-day conference, topics discussed included health equity, fostering an engaged workforce, PreManage, budgeting practices, the Indian Health Care Delivery System and more! Professor john a. powell, Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley, and keynote speaker presented Equity is Health Transformation. Amongst several topics during the presentation, Professor powell discussed the term “othering.” Othering is “a generalized set of common processes that engender marginality and persistent inequality across any of the full range of human differences.” When individuals act or pretend as if they are not connected to other individuals, they are in the process of othering.

The solution to othering is belonging. Belonging includes the power to co-create exclusion and diversity. A term that also stood out to the Greater Columbia ACH staff was targeted universalism. Targeted universalism is described as building structures within a system that are used to promote desired outcomes. As Greater Columbia ACH moves forward with the Medicaid Transformation Demonstration Project, it is important to remember that we are all a part of each other, and to eliminate the act of “othering” and to adopt target universalism practices. It is within Greater Columbia ACH’s mission statement to empower individuals and communities through collaboration, innovation and engagement and giving our community a sense of belonging in working towards advancing the health of our population.

Another presentation that stood out to the Greater Columbia ACH staff was the Fostering an Engaged Workforce breakout session led by Deanna Davis. Deanna described the foundations of social connection and trust which includes: trust, healthy conflict, commitment, accountability, and focusing on results. It was through this presentation that the Greater Columbia ACH staff realized that these concepts can be used through our practice transformation work. The Practice Transformation Navigators are focusing on culture change and creating an engaged workforce with all organizations. In order to properly facilitate culture change, engage worked workforce is essential.


The Greater Columbia ACH staff also enjoyed the Achieving Equity Through Organizational Change breakout session. During the breakout session, different cultures of organizations and anti-racist multicultural institutions was discussed. Many organizations shared that diversity is often present only at entry-level positions. The group discussed how to implement succession planning and invest in development of employees could be used to create the same level of diversity at mid and senior level management.

Lastly, through the Participatory Budgeting breakout session, the Greater Columbia ACH staff learned that participatory budgeting is described as engaging the individuals who are directly affected by the funds that are being distributed as part of a public budget. We were excited to directly relate participatory budgeting to our work with the Local Health Improvement Networks (LHINs) and the Third-Party Administrators (TPAs). Our (six) LHINs are currently working on releasing a public survey to determine the prominent Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) in their region. Once established, the SDOH will be used in the Request for Proposals (RFP) process and distributed publicly. The third-party administrators will work with the RFP respondents to implement specific projects that will address the Social Determinants of Health.  These projects will be funded by GCACH and the funds will be distributed by the third-party administrator. Through the use of participatory budgeting, the Greater Columbia ACH is enabling the community to have a voice by partaking in a democratic process with the entity distributing the funds which engages and empowers the consumer.

Overall, the Greater Columbia ACH Staff enjoyed the Learning Symposium. It gave us a chance to interact with the other ACH's across Washington State and learn from each other. Through our work, we are focusing on target universalism, inclusion, diversity, incorporating participatory budgeting and more! We are looking forward to the 2019 Learning Symposium!