We help public health departments work together to protect and promote the health of the people they serve.
The work of the Center for Sharing Public Health Services (“Center”) is focused on exploring and promoting the value of cross-jurisdictional sharing (and resource sharing in general) to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of access to and delivery of public health services.
Cross-jurisdictional sharing (CJS) is when partners share resources across their respective organizational boundaries (e.g., population served, service area, district, or geopolitical jurisdictions) to improve organizational capacity, address public health issues more effectively and efficiently, advance health equity and address problems that cannot easily be solved by a single organization or jurisdiction.
Even though CJS can involve different types of organizations, the work of the Center is primarily aimed at exploring the role of governmental public health agencies in sharing resources outside of their organizational boundaries with other government or non-government entities.
Some features of the work of the Center include:
- Resource sharing. The focus of the work of the Center is on collaborations that include sharing of resources, such as staff, expertise, knowledge, equipment, funds or programs.
- Multiple jurisdictions. The Center addresses resource sharing that takes place among more than one “jurisdiction.” A jurisdiction can be represented by a geopolitical unit (for example, a county), a district, a population served, a service area, etc. A key defining element of a multijurisdictional approach is that the entities involved in a sharing agreement serve different jurisdictions and decide to work together across their jurisdictional boundaries. The nature of the jurisdictions may not necessarily be geopolitical. Here are some examples:
- Counties, cities, municipalities, townships, or other governmental territorial entities sharing staff among their health departments to provide specific services;
- A governmental public health department and a school district sharing staff to provide immunization services to students;
- A state health department managing regional epidemiologists housed in local health departments to support local or regional disease investigation functions;
- A community health center and a local health department in the same county sharing funds or staff to offer free prenatal clinics in their community;
- Multiple local health departments getting together to purchase human resources services from a private vendor;
- A local health department and a private health clinic sharing funding to support billing functions in both organizations; and
- Multiple states sharing public health laboratory services.
- Effectiveness and efficiency. The overall goal of CJS projects (as defined by the Center) is to improve the effectiveness (enhancing the quality of existing services or increasing capacity), efficiency (maximizing the value of each dollar invested) and equity (providing everyone with a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible) in the access to and the delivery of public health services.
- Public health services. For the purpose of the work of the Center, public health services include services provided under the framework of the 10 Essential Public Health Services, which promote policies, systems, and overall community conditions to achieve health equity.
- Health department involvement. While in many CJS instances governmental public health agencies are directly involved in the delivery of essential public health services, in some cases other government or non-government organizations may take a lead role (for example, sharing initiatives addressing environmental health services or access to care, etc.). In other cases, a public health agency may simply “assure” that certain services are provided by others in its jurisdiction, without a direct involvement in the delivery process (for example, immunizations, prenatal care, etc.). The Center is only studying and supporting CJS activities that involve at least one governmental public health department (either directly or with an assurance role).