Community Care Notebook: A Practical Guide to
By Health Research and Educational Trust
Chicago, 2002, 187 pp., $39.95
(for American Hospital Association members)
$49.95 (for nonmembers)
REVIEWED BY JOEANN KARIBO
When we look these days at the holistic health of our society, we realize that
the approaches of the past have not worked. The gap between the rich and poor
continues to widen, and in almost every community the incidence of substance
abuse, violence, preventable disease, and infant mortality continues to increase.
Understanding that fragmented services focused on isolated needs have done little
to help the poor and marginalized, innovative health care leaders have formed
community health partnerships throughout the United States.
Community Care Notebook: A Practical Guide to Health Partnerships documents
the experiences of and the lessons learned by people involved in the partnerships
that have been part of the National Community Care Network Demonstration Program
(CCN). Since 1995 when it was founded, CCN has provided technical and financial
support to the efforts of 25 partnerships working to reform the local health
care delivery system—working, that is, to transform the capacity for health
and well-being of individuals and the overall community.
The Community Care Network is sponsored by the Health Research and Education
Trust in collaboration with the American Hospital Association, Catholic Health
Association, and the VHA Health Foundation, with funding from the W. K. Kellogg
Foundation and the Duke Endowment.
The CCN's vision is to: "(1) return the community to the center of
health care delivery; (2) include those populations who are now outside the
system of care by virtue of poverty, culture, or language barriers; (3) emphasize
prevention and minimize illness; (4) make the health system more user-friendly;
(5) continually improve the continuity and quality of health services; (6) ensure
that resources are allocated to maximize health and cost effectiveness."
The CCN's Community Care Notebook documents the ways that its vision
is being pursued through profiles of the participating partnerships, information
about the communities involved, and descriptions of partnership accomplishments.
More importantly, the book articulates the common elements needed for success,
all of which have emerged from the experiences of the partnerships. The book
offers a "how-to" guide for developing and sustaining a community
health partnership. Guidelines for practical application of the elements for
success are woven through its five chapters.
What is particularly striking about the common elements of success illustrated
and promoted in the Community Care Notebook is the fact that they mirror
the foundations of Catholic social teaching. Catholic social tradition teaches
us that a healthy community respects the innate dignity and rights of each human
being. A healthy community understands that personal betterment is interdependent
with the development of the common good.
Anyone involved in a community-based partnership will find the Community
Care Notebook a useful tool. CCN participants are focused on improving the
local health care delivery system through partnerships among hospitals/health
systems, health departments, businesses, local organizations, and members of
the community. However, the collaborative style and the capacity-building emphasis
of the partnerships described in this book offer guidelines for a systemic change
process applicable to any community.
Director, Community Commitment
Bon Secours Health System
Copyright © 2003 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.