Partnership Tools

Partnership Building Around Billing

Billing for services requires a cultural and systemic shift for many community based organizations (CBOs). An alternative to billing directly is to form partnerships with organizations that already have billing systems in place and experience doing it. As with any partnership, building a partnership around billing for services requires knowing what each party brings to the table, building trust, strategizing, and establishing an agreement, among other steps. CBA@JSI has created a Billing Partnership Building Continuum (see below) to assist CBOs navigate the main steps involved in forming a partnership around billing. The continuum involves 11 steps, each one requiring its own research and decision making.

To assist CBOs to get started, CBA@JSI has created tools that will assist with some steps of the continuum. The tools are geared towards a partnership with a clinical provider, though can be tailored for other settings. The continuum is presented below along with associated tools.

The Billing Partnership Building Continuum

View the Billing Partnership Building Continuum diagram.

Step 1: Identify internal strengths and weaknesses.

The Competitive Advantage Worksheet (PDF)  walks CBOs through a series of questions to assess what are their strengths compared to other similar organizations in their service area. This is an important first step for all CBOs, since it will equip them with the information needed to begin to explore which organizations they should partner with and what they have to offer to that relationship.

Step 2: Conduct environmental scan.

The Environmental Assessment (PDF) , consists of a scan of the zip codes that the CBO serves to determine other organizations in that area, the services they provide , and to whom. This will assist CBOs to assess gaps in services in the community to see if they could fill them given their competitive advantages.

Step 3: Identify potential partners.

Step 4: Reach out to potential partners.

When reaching out to potential partners, it’s important to have a guide for the initial conversation after the first meeting is scheduled. CBA@JSI created an Initial Interview/Meeting Guide(PDF)  as an example of what the discussion might look like. This guide can easily be tailored to each CBO’s needs/circumstances. In addition, some Tips for Conducting Key Informant Interviews (PDF)  were put together to support staff that is newer to this skill.

Step 5: Determine complementing services.

Step 6: Determine viability and provisional structure for agreed upon services.

Step 7: Establish formal agreement.

After discussing and agreeing on what services will be conducted by the CBO and how those will be reimbursed by the other organization, it’s important to establish a formal agreement, such as a Memorandum of Agreement or contract to legalize the agreed upon terms. Included in the tools is a Sample Contract (PDF)  that can help provide a framework for this formalized agreement.

Step 8: Pilot arrangement.

Step 9: Evaluate arrangement.

Step 10: Make necessary adjustments.

Step 11: Finalize arrangement.

Additional Resources

APICHA Case Study (PDF)– A case study was conducted on New York’s Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS (APICHA). APICHA went from being an AIDS Service Organization (ASO) to a Federally Qualified Health Center-Look Alike. This case study illustrates partnership and transformation.