Connecting for Better Health Aims to Add New Voices, Expand Advocacy in 2023

As Connecting for Better Health (C4BH) sets its policy priorities for the coming year, the coalition is looking to expand its advocacy efforts and involve more stakeholders, such as representatives from local health agencies and health plans from diverse arenas.

At the November 17 meeting, the coalition presented draft 2023 priorities, which were developed in collaboration with coalition members who participated in a recent survey and a series of interviews. The November 17 meeting participants provided additional input on the priorities.

C4BH’s proposed policy priorities for 2023 include:

  • Data Sharing Agreement execution: Promote the value of the California Health & Human Services Agency’s (CalHHS) Data Sharing Agreement (DSA) and encourage organizations to sign it
  • Funding advocacy: Advocate for the state to dedicate continued funding for health and social services IT and ensure state agencies seek federal matching funds when and where appropriate
  • Integration of social services data: Develop and communicate use cases that should serve as the basis for data sharing across sectors—especially lessons learned from California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) programs. Include social services organizations in the Data Sharing Agreements and associated Policies and Procedures (P&Ps)
  • P&Ps monitoring and engagement: Monitor state data sharing policies and procedures and provide critical feedback to CalHHS and other agencies to ensure California realizes the promise of AB 133

California’s DSA will be front and center among policy priorities for the coalition in 2023, said Timi Leslie, who leads Connecting for Better Health. The coalition’s efforts will include addressing questions around enforcement, compliance, transparency, and tracking, she explained.

Leslie added that the coalition will examine how to help add signatories to the DSA. Fundamental to that work is focusing on those organizations that really need to be engaged, which will make data sharing thrive in our communities, she said.

Suggestions for new stakeholders include individuals representing health plans, county-level health agencies, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), long-term care and skilled nursing facilities, homeless management information system technology providers, continuums of care, social determinants of health (SDOH) vendors, and electronic health record (EHR) vendors.

Gary Madden, director of 211 San Bernardino County, suggested his organization as one that can offer an important voice, saying that the local organization can act as part of a statewide coalition. His organization provides services for nonprofit entities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

Mary-Sara Jones, senior business development executive for health and human services at Amazon Web Services, suggested that it will be important to define categories of data as the Data Exchange Framework is implemented, particularly as patients are able to pick and choose what data they consent to have shared.

“We talk about categories of data, but we don’t actually have an ontology that says what data falls into those categories,” she said. “I see this as becoming a very complicated matter down the line.”

Connecting for Better Health is looking at a wide breadth of programming opportunities for the coming year. They include providing information about state and federal activities, inviting speakers from a variety of sectors, and sharing experiential feedback on topics such as population health management, provider and patient engagement, and the value of data exchange.

Respondents expressed several priorities, including the need to increase awareness about C4BH’s work, expanding the coalition’s advocacy efforts, and connecting its work with efforts at the federal level.


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