Challenges faced by the HIV health services planning council in Oakland, California, 1991-1994

B. W. Kieler*, N. Warren, T. G. Rundall, S. Black, I. Saporta, B. Brinkley, P. C. Sussman, L. Barney, R. Keilch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study reports the findings of a case study of the health services planning council established in the Oakland, California, eligible metropolitan area (the Oakland EMA) under Title I of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act of 1990 (the CARE Act). We gathered primary data through observation of planning council meetings, examination of documentary evidence, and in-depth interviews with key participants. An important finding of this study was the inconsistency observed between the rational, linear planning model embedded in the CARE Act legislation and the politicized, emergent, and, at times, chaotic planning process actually observed in the Oakland EMA. The primary reasons for this inconsistency included confusion among council members about the planning council's responsibilities and authority, as well as its relationship with the local health department; limitations on administrative support at the local level; reluctance of program administrators at the federal level to provide advice concerning development of the council; allegations of conflict of interest among members of the council; pre-existing societal tensions and divisions; concerns about the representativeness of the council's membership; competition among providers of services for funding; conflicting demands for services by persons affected by HIV disease; disagreements between the council and providers of services over policies and procedures for administering the services contracts; and concerns about the council's involvement in the selection of specific agencies for funding, its lapses in compliance with rules of order, and its failure to accurately record minutes of all of its meetings. Despite the challenges faced by the Oakland planning council, it was able to meet its Title I obligations, which resulted in significant increases in the availability of medical and social services for persons affected by HIV disease. However, dealing with the confusion and conflicts described above consumed a considerable amount of the planning council's time and energy and eventually required a complete reorganization of the council to assure its stability and the legitimacy of the Title I program at the local level. Medical Subject Headings (MeSH): health planning councils; health planning organizations; health care coalitions; organization and administration; organizational innovation; models, organizational.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number4 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1996


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