American Health Planning Association © 1996 - 2024

AHPA encourages and facilitates community oriented health services planning. This necessarily entails supporting a wide range of planning activities in many venues and settings. The key AHPA concern is that planning of all varieties, and in all venues and settings, incorporate and reflect a discernible community perspective.  

Much productive health services planning necessarily takes place in private organizations and settings. Consequently, AHPA endorses and supports collaborative planning efforts between and among public and private and public entities. Publicly supported planning endeavors often can provide valuable assistance to voluntary private health service planning efforts, particularly in ensuring that they consider, and where possible take into account, community concerns, interests and perspectives that may not be identified if by a more scan or assessment of the institutional or organizational environment.

Health planning is the development of comprehensive, community-oriented health systems designed to assure universal access to necessary care of the highest quality and most reasonable cost possible. Health systems must embody a public decision-making process which is sensitive to community values and the concerns of consumers, providers, payers, and the needs of undeserved populations. That public process must provide broadly representative mechanisms for identifying community needs, assessing capacity to meet those needs, allocating resources, and resolving conflicts. These goals are the best way of assuring accountability and equity in the design and direction of the future healthcare system.

The core values of our mission are access, quality, community participation, and collaborative planning: We endeavor to improve these values within health systems as a matter of good public policy. Health planning requires good public process in which all health is public health.

The challenge that health planning addresses has always been that of making the healthcare system more accountable to average residents in their communities. The longstanding commitment of providers to a community mission which built public trust is being eroded by corporate business practices which generate profits, often without any community benefits. The reliance on market competition for " healthcare reform" is a political and economic experiment which is resulting in dislocations throughout society. The challenge to public policy is to facilitate the development of a responsible marketplace, one in which the sought-after benefits of competition are realized.

To achieve benefit from this process for all residents, it is necessary for legislators to take a more active role in shaping the transformation of the market. Government is obligated to exercise sound stewardship of the public's resources, much of which it controls as the primary payer of services. Healthcare is a social good like safety and education which, in a democratic society, requires intelligent government oversight in order to balance competing needs and priorities.

Health planning must embody a resource allocation model which reflects the specific, measurable healthcare needs of the populations served. It must overcome the reluctance of some providers to address the needs of high-risk populations. It must encourage integrated delivery systems to develop long-range plans addressing all needs, and hold them publicly accountable for meeting them.

Health Planning Overview