W. June Simmons, MSW

Building a Powerful Team

Partnership lies at the very heart of the work of Ms. Simmons, president and CEO of the Partners in Care Foundation. Partners in Care is the legacy foundation of the Visiting Nurse Association of Los Angeles, which collaborates with communities and funders to develop, test, and disseminate pioneering models of care that deliver improved health and social services more efficiently. She is currently a member of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Committee on Transforming End-of-Life Care, and recently completed a term on the National Advisory Council of the NIA.

Ms. Simmons first collaborated with the Hartford Foundation from 1990 to 1994 on a project called Geriatric Care Management in a Primary Care Setting, at Huntington Hospital in Los Angeles, which partnered social workers with physicians in primary care offices.

Community-based social services agencies face severe challenges and enormous opportunities in the face of health reform. W. June Simmons, MSW, President/CEO Partners in Care Foundation, is leading a coalition of agencies to improve their organizational readiness and to demonstrate their value in working with new partners.

In 1995 she moved to the Visiting Nurse Association of Los Angeles, where she worked with Hartford, Vanderbilt University, and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York on a project called Home Care Medications Risk Identification. “We developed a system for a nurse who goes out and does an assessment in the home. The nurse gathers a list of all the meds and then submits them to a pharmacist for review to see what kind of medication problems and issues were out there and what kind of solution could be built to support and strengthen the visit.”

She continued working with Vanderbilt and Hartford even after she moved on to found the Partners in Care Foundation, and at the same time, she became involved with the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education (HPPAE). “We got federal funding to translate the medications program from a medical person gathering the meds to putting it in the Medicaid waiver and having a social worker do it. We’re still spreading that. It’s built into the current funding, not so much as a distinct element but as part of a new model of what the people and community agencies can bring to medicine that really helps create a powerful team to get better health results for the people they’re caring for.”

Ms. Simmons has collaborated with the Hartford Foundation on several other projects, including the Practice Change Fellows program, and was active in forming and administering the Evidence-Based Leadership Council, which brings together national developers of the leading evidence-based self-management programs.

She also has worked with a number of other partners in her efforts to improve health care services through collaborative teams of medical personnel and social workers, including the California HealthCare Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Archstone Foundation, the Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium, the Open Society Institute, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Administration for Community Living, and the National Council on Aging. Her current work with the Foundation—to develop a large-scale, prototype network to improve the health care of older adults by linking community-based, social service agencies to the healthcare system—is featured in Better Together: Building an Integrated Healthcare and Social Services Delivery System.


23 of 29