Building a Stronger Network: Questions to Consider and an Action Plan

Recent changes in the health care landscape offer new opportunities for community-based integrated care networks (CBICNs, or networks) to partner with health care providers and payers in providing high-quality cost-effective care to older adults and people with disabilities living in the community. CBICNs are groups of aging and disability community-based organizations (CBOs) that work together to deliver community-based health care services. Networks are well-positioned to provide community-based services by contracting with health care entities on a large scale and can cover large geographic areas through a single point of contact.

To help networks build and strengthen their operations, infrastructure and sustainability for successful service delivery and contracting, the Aging and Disability Business Institute, which is helmed by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, developed these six worksheets to guide networks as they assess some of the most important elements of network operations. By completing these worksheets, networks will receive actionable steps that they can use to formulate an action plan by using the accompanying Network Operations Action Plan Template. These worksheets are not meant to be exhaustive; rather they serve as a framework to guide your network as it seeks to build and strengthen its operations.

How to Use These Worksheets

Together, these worksheets will serve as a launch pad that will help your network develop and enhance its operations. We suggest that all members of your network’s leadership team review these worksheets and work on them together. It may also be helpful to get members’ perspectives on these issues.

Use each worksheet to walk through a series of questions that will spur discussion among your network’s leadership and help develop a work plan:

  • Considering your responses to the questions on this worksheet, what are the two biggest challenges facing your network?
  • What are the two steps your network needs to take immediately (within the next three months) to address its challenges?
  • What are two steps your network needs to take over the next six to 12 months to move forward in its development?

Once you have answered these questions, move to the Network Operations Action Plan template to map out the tasks required to meet each goal your network has identified.

Your network may wish to augment this work by using the Network Readiness Assessment, a tool developed by the Aging and Disability Business Institute and Collaborative Consulting designed to help CBOs and CBO networks gauge their current levels of readiness for building, sustaining and growing a coordinated network of service providers that contracts with health care entities. Upon completion of the Network Readiness Assessment, your network will have a detailed snapshot of where it stands across several categories of readiness, helping identify areas where it may need to build capacity.

These worksheets were created for participants of the 2020 Network Operations Learning Collaborative, which was funded by the U.S. Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through a contract with the Lewin Group.