As the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light and exacerbated barriers to healthcare, SFDPH mobilized its community partners to ensure that education, testing, and vaccines were available and accessible to the communities most impacted. One of the gaps that became apparent during the pandemic was San Francisco’s lack of a seamless citywide patient/client referral system. When referrals are not completed, the result is gaps in the continuum of care, higher patient acuity, and continued health disparities among the most vulnerable communities.
To address this issue, SFDPH Community Health Equity & Promotion Branch established a Community Referral Network (CRN) involving 76 organizations, with the ultimate long-term goal of creating a virtual shared referral platform. This groups met for six months, from December 2022 to May 2023, with Facente Consulting providing technical assistance to the SFDPH lead staff and supporting with thought partnership, meeting design, and presentation development. We also documented input from the CRN participants regarding the virtual platform – desired attributes, services to be included, and how it would operate in practice. At the conclusion of the meetings, we produced a short, user-friendly report describing the complex process of CRN formation and cataloguing stakeholder recommendations. The report lays the groundwork for future expansion of the CRN and virtual platform.