A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin—Madison School of Nursing received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to analyze cross-jurisdictional sharing and shared service agreements between local public health departments in the state of Wisconsin.
The goal of the project was to explore shared service agreements as a strategy for increasing capacity to provide local public health services. Specific goals included describing the motivations for local health departments to enter into shared service agreements and the expected outcomes of the agreements, measuring the extent of implementation, evaluating performance in achieving expected outcomes, analyzing the relationship between features of shared service agreements and implementation and performance, and documenting the change in use of shared service agreements over time.
The research team determined that cross-jurisdictional sharing is a common practice in Wisconsin, with some 78 percent of survey respondents in 2014 reporting that they currently share services with at least one other local health department. Survey results revealed that shared service agreements exist throughout Wisconsin, but are more common in the less- populated regions of the state. Among the shared service agreements reviewed, the most common services addressed were environmental health (including inspections and licensing), emergency preparedness, communicable disease, health promotion/chronic disease, and maternal and child health. More details on the findings of the research can be found in this report.