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February Changemaker, The Coordinating Center

The Coordinating Center Logo and staff

Championing Change: Coordinating Care, Empowering Communities

Full Sail Media is proud to continue our Changemakers Calendar series, turning our focus to a beacon of hope and support in Maryland – The Coordinating Center. This month, we celebrate this organization’s commitment to coordinating care and empowering individuals and families to achieve their aspirations for health, wellness, and independence.

The Coordinating Center embodies the essence of transformative support, working to navigate the complexities of care for individuals living with disabilities, complex medical needs, and those at risk of hospitalization. The organization’s purpose is not only to manage health care and social needs but to ensure that every individual they serve can live a fulfilling life within their community.

We sat down to speak with Dr. Teresa Titus-Howard, PhD, MHA, MSW, CCM, the President and CEO of The Coordinating Center, and are happy to share an abridged version of our conversation.


The Coordinating Center

Full Sail Media's Changemaker, The Coordinating Center

For over 40 years, The Coordinating Center has been at the forefront of person-centered care in Maryland. Their approach is holistic, recognizing that health and well-being are influenced by a myriad of factors, including social determinants of health such as housing, education, and access to care. By advocating for and with individuals, The Coordinating Center creates personalized care plans that reflect the unique needs and goals of each person.

The impact of The Coordinating Center is profound. From children with complex medical needs to adults with disabilities and older adults with chronic health conditions, they serve as a vital lifeline.Their work ensures not just better health outcomes but promotes dignity, autonomy, and an enhanced quality of life.

Their efforts extend beyond individual care coordination. The Coordinating Center is a pivotal force in community health, working to dismantle barriers and foster environments where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They are champions of change, advocating for policy improvements, and leading initiatives that promote inclusivity and access to essential services.

Chart Showing Coordinating Center's Services

A Diverse Array of Programs

From the Rare and Expensive Case Management (REM) Program to the Community First Choice Program and Housing First support for the homeless, The Coordinating Center’s initiatives are as varied as the needs of the communities they serve.

“We are also a Coordination of Community Services provider for the DDA, coordinating services  for individuals living with intellectual or developmental disabilities,” Dr. Titus-Howard adds, underlining the organization’s comprehensive approach to care.

Measuring Success Through Client Satisfaction
“Our clients are always our true north,” Dr. Titus-Howard said, sharnig the heart of The Coordinating Center’s mission. Success is measured not by numbers alone but by the satisfaction and outcomes of those they serve. 

Through annual satisfaction surveys and continual feedback, The Coordinating Center ensures that its services remain client-focused and impactful.

Funding the Mission
With a model that charges clients nothing, The Coordinating Center’s funding primarily comes from state contracts and grants. Dr. Titus-Howard describes a touching aspect of their funding, the Family Resource Fund, created by and distributed by coworkers to provide vital services and support for clients that meet a critical need or improve a person’s quality of life. 

“It’s a fund created in the 80s to help families buy things that Medicaid or private insurance or other funding sources would not cover,” she explains, showcasing the organization’s dedication to going above and beyond for their clients.

Collaborations and Community Engagement’
“Collaboration is actually one of our six core values,” Dr. Titus-Howard notes, emphasizing the importance of working together with other organizations to meet family needs. 

This collaborative spirit extends beyond service provision, involving strategic partnerships with local businesses and national corporations to fund special projects like the Family Resource Fund.

Overcoming Challenges with Advocacy and Innovation
Facing the challenges of healthcare provision head-on, especially in areas plagued by shortages and systemic barriers, The Coordinating Center employs a mix of advocacy and innovation. The Coordinating Center’s response to this challenge is rooted in its identity as a “conflict-free care coordination agency,” a designation that separates assessment and coordination of services from the delivery of services. As such, The Coordinating Center is able to advocate on the behalf of their clients to ensure they gain access to the highest quality services available. This advocacy isn’t just about addressing immediate needs but is aimed at systemic changes, such as “raising the wages and lifting requirements,” to make nursing roles more accessible and appealing, thereby alleviating the shortage.

Looking Ahead: Goals for 2024 and Beyond
As for the future, Dr. Titus-Howard is clear about her goals: to enhance service delivery, increase the number of clients served, and continue to be the provider of choice for care management services in Maryland. “It’s always client-focused,” she reiterates, highlighting the organization’s unwavering commitment to its mission.

How You Can Help
The Coordinating Center thrives on community support, whether through donations to the Family Resource Fund or simplifying following The Coordinating Center on social media. Individuals and businesses can contribute to their mission, from sponsoring a child’s camp experience to supporting their biennial fundraiser.

We extend our thanks to Dr. Titus-Howard for her time, and to the entire The Coordinating Center team for the important work they’re doing in our area.