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Administrative implementation of integration principles in the Los Angeles Health Agency
The Health Care Agency refers to the efforts to integrate Department of Mental Health, Department of Physical Health, and the Department of Public Health along with Substance and Housing Services into one health agency. Purpose: The purpose of the study is to examine the changes that have occurred due to the merger of the county departments into one service provision. This study gathered insightful information about integration and the impact integration has had on the roles of administrative staff, the organizational structure, and the patients. Study Question: This project is both an exploratory and descriptive study. A mixed study, consisting of qualitative and quantitative data. Methods: A comprehensive questionnaire was developed to survey administrators from the Health Agency. Data on the Qualtric System was analyzed to identify the benefits, experiences and overall impact that integration has had into the newly formed Health Care Agency. The survey included questions relating to demographic information; participant's current role and responsibilities in the new "health agency," as well as prior to the merger; personal understanding of integration; and opportunities for growth. Results: The data presented represents responses from a small pilot group of staff (n=31). The preliminary data reflects that employees have a strong sense of teamwork, cooperation, and understand the value of their role in relation to the overall mission of integration in the Health Care Agency. Preliminary findings also revealed that employees felt that there were barriers to communication and the sharing of information within the organization. Discussion: This research study is the first study of its kind to analyze the impact that integration has had on the largest social service agency in Los Angeles County. The survey was designed to reflect the agency's goals, mission, and the internal attitudes and experiences of the administrative staff. The pilot sample size was too small. Despite this limitation, the survey of this study could be modified to become applicable to the 10 other priority groups in the Health Care Agency.