People have been asking me what the catalyst or tipping point was that motivated the employers in our community to lead and establish the New Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Value, the new employer led multi-stakeholder organization. I have given the question much thought and I believe it has to do with collaborative leadership, creating community ownership and meeting stakeholders where they are. Let me be clear this takes time and does not happen overnight. The other major ingredient I believe, is to provide something that stakeholders find of value, something that helps them, as we call it "the value add" and can also be seen as meeting them where we are.
Now don't get me wrong, there is no doubt we wouldn't have had the success of being able to transition to the new organization without having had another critical ingredient , a strong backbone organization; in our case that organization was HealthInsight, who was working on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Aligning Force for Quality Initiative (AF4Q) at the time. Having the backbone organization allowed us to move quickly in the early days of the AF4Q initiative, which allowed us to focus on the task at hand instead of focusing on building or sustaining the organization in the very beginning. We were able to focus on the initiatives, show some early positive results, and that success then provided the synergy and energy for moving ahead at full speed. This also created a sense of pride and success from which we were able to build. HealthInsight was necessary to incubate, grow and nourish the community collaborative, much as we do our children, but ultimately there comes a time when they are ready to leave the nest and go out on their own. I think the role of a backbone organization is critical but we must also keep in mind that if we are successful, those collaboratives or initiatives will take on a new life and eventually move out of the umbrella of the backbone organization. This is an especially critical concept to understand both for funders, as well as for the backbone organizations. To be successful there is also a need for a long-term strategic vision and committing for the long-term in initial funding, in order to allow the foundational work to be done and supported.