In 2004, a number of Michigan providers convened to address their state’s looming care gap and formed the Kent County Health Field Collaborative (HFC). Its first project: a cooperative, flexible, and resourceful program that would directly address the barriers to sustained employment per the individual staffer.
The Opportunity Partnership & Empowerment Network (OPEN) program has been a success and continues to expand its role and coverage area outside of Kent County. During a two-year pilot program, more than 80% of employees utilizing the program maintained their employment. All of these employees were considered at risk of losing their jobs because of inabilities to successfully manage personal challenges and work expectations. Also, two of the five participating employers cut turnover rates in half, while another company reported a drop from an average of 36% to 22%. Among the employers who initially made up the HFC, turnover rates ran as high as 58% before the program.
The program's collaborative structure keeps costs low. Collectively, the provider members, who all share the same problem of staff turnover, pay for one case worker’s salary and any expenses such as supplies and additional project work. Because the HFC is made up of long-term care, acute care, and rehab providers, payments are calculated through a utilization formula.