Ohio Better Health Partnership Profile: Ask Me Anything with Rita Horwitz

Rita Horwitz is the Director of Business Development & Operations for Better Health Partnership a multi-stakeholder Regional Health Improvement Collaborative located in Cleveland, Ohio- one of the AF4Q RWJF funded communities.

Q. How do you recommend engaging employers in your work?

A. I work with employers on multiple levels and find that aligning our work with their business goals and stage of readiness is key to engagement. Employers have many competing priorities, a bottom line to manage to, and employee relation considerations when embarking upon large scale change. Health care transformation is complex and can be overwhelming for employers to translate into action in their organizations. Breaking down the complexity and focusing on areas that employers can most easily relate to, and can move incrementally toward is an approach I’ve found to be effective.

Q. Is there a lesson you’ve learned, or practice you’ve adopted that think others should know about?

A. As with any desired engagement, remember that change happens at the speed of trust, and trust happens at the speed of relationships. Do not under estimate the 1:1 relationship building it takes with key individuals to get the business community engaged in improving the health of their communities, improving quality and safety of care delivery, and making health care more affordable. It is a journey – not a race and a wholesale approach doesn’t work!

Q. What is something you would like to learn more about if you had the time?

A. I think it is important to know and understand the implications of the ACA on all employers – current and future. There are many compliance and tax-related issues which have been all consuming for employers. Having a better understanding of those would help inform me of potential barriers to engagement with value-based purchasing or benefit design and may also create an opportunity for our organization to assist with those challenges.