Case Study: Public Health Shared Services: Southeast Kansas (SEK) Multi-County Health Department

The Southeast Kansas (SEK) Multi-County Health Department is a collaboration between four rural counties: Allen, Anderson, Bourbon and Woodson. It operates as a single agency, but provides public health services in each county. The arrangement allows the four counties to share one administrator, one accountant and one medical director between the four public health locations. The counties receive many benefits by offering public health services through this sharing arrangement, including efficiencies in administration, increased flexibility for staff members, and cooperation and moral support between counties.

Available online: http://www.khi.org/assets/uploads/news/13842/sek_casestudy.pdf

It is included in the CJS Resource Library under the categories listed below. Select a link to find other resources in that category.

  • Background / History: The Southeast Kansas (SEK) Multi-County Health Department is the oldest multi-county health department in the state. It originated in the early 1970s when Anderson and Linn counties banded together to increase local immunization rates as part of a statewide initiative.
  • Fiscal and Service Issues: The original funding formula for the SEK Multi-County Health Department required each of the five counties to contribute a set amount of money. However, opposition soon arose to that funding formula because the fixed amount represented different proportions of each county’s budget. In order to account for variations in county population sizes, they decided that some counties would contribute more than others.
  • Governance: The health department is governed by a board of health, which consists of three individuals from each county appointed by county commissioners, including one health care professional, one county commissioner and one health care consumer.
  • Rural / Small Jurisdictions: Four rural counties share a public health agency called the Southeast Kansas (SEK) Multi-County Health Department, with locations in each county.

 
This resource is also linked to the Roadmap. Select a link below to read more about each area.

  • Why? / Phase One: Benefits of operating as a multi-county health department include increased effectiveness and efficiency of public health services, increased flexibility for staff members, and cooperation and moral support between counties
  • Fiscal and Service Implications / Phase Two: The original funding formula for the SEK Multi-County Health Department required each of the five counties to contribute a set amount of money. However, opposition soon arose to that funding formula because the fixed amount represented different proportions of each county’s budget. In order to account for variations in county population sizes, they decided that some counties would contribute more than others.
  • Governance / Phase Two: The health department is governed by a board of health, which consists of three individuals from each county appointed by county commissioners, including one health care professional, one county commissioner and one health care consumer.
  • Logistical Issues / Phase Two: Challenges of operating as a multi-county health department include travel time between locations.
  • Communications / Phase Two: Challenges of operating as a multi-county health department include communication and building relationships in multiple communities.
  • Change Management / Phase Two:Opposition arose to the original funding formula because the fixed amount represented different proportions of each county’s budget.
  • Communications and Change Management / Phase Three: Opposition arose to the original funding formula because the fixed amount represented different proportions of each county’s budget.