PETER VAN DYCK: Greetings and welcome to this series of Technical Assistance Workshops on Needs Assessment and State Performance Measures. We’re holding these in response to your request for TA. As you know, the Needs Assessment will be reported in the 2005 submission of the Application and Annual Report. This Workshop is being videotaped and archived to help those who may be unable to attend and need the content to prepare for this important effort. There’s been a tradition of offering these TA Workshops before every Needs Assessment for the Block Grant Application and Annual Report.
This is the third time that we are going through this effort which is still required to be done every five years. There’ve been changes over time since the Title V MCH Programs have been conducting the legislatively required Five Year Needs Assessment. The focus has expanded from data collection and analysis to include an emphasis on a more outcome oriented approach. In reflecting back on the past Needs Assessments, these changes have a lot to do with the presence of more well developed capacity at the state level, both for data collection and staff to analyze data, and a general national and State movement toward outcomes and performance measurement.
The group process of having individuals within each State come together for the purposes of selecting State Priorities from the Needs Assessment and developing State Performance Measures is a very complex one. This Workshop will also focus on many of these aspects.
The faculty being gathered along with the considerable expertise that you, the State Title V MCH Directors and the CSHCN Directors, bring to this Workshop is really impressive. Over the next day and a half you will learn not only from the faculty, the Division of State and Community Health Staff, but through networking with each other. The agenda provides opportunities for you to do some Small Group Work and working sessions together. Through these Small Work Groups and working sessions, lunchtime discussions, and informal discussions among yourselves, there will be ample time for sharing and problem solving.
There will also continue to be some emphasis on looking at data, needs as values, and need discrepancies throughout the Workshop. Needs Assessments continue to be a staple of public health practice and represent a core function in public health. A well-conducted Needs Assessment provides basic information critical to support the other functions of both policy development and assurance. Needs Assessment is a critical step in the larger process of program development and program evaluation.
There are several special issues that impact the Needs Assessment and State Performance Measures process that need to be mentioned. One is the SLAITS Children with Special Health Care Needs Survey. Questions that you have raised are:
When will the SLAITS Survey be repeated?
What data are the States to report during the interim years for those five year National Performance Measures that are dependent on the SLAITS Survey?
What advice can we offer if a State wants to conduct its own SLAITS like survey during the interim years?
Finally, there is the issue of conducting the Needs Assessment within the context of today’s really deteriorating financial environment at the State Level. These are all questions worthy of discussion. Despite these daunting times you must continue to do the good work that you have been doing in the Title V programs of the State level. The MCH populations are counting on you and your leadership to continue to provide the level and quality of services that you do every day. Best wishes over the next day and half as you work through these really important MCH issues. Thank you.