Communications, Outreach & Stakeholder Engagement

Harbage Consulting has extensive experience with health care stakeholder engagement and consumer outreach. One of the most critical elements of any successful public initiative is ensuring that there is an effective process for communicating with key stakeholders.

Harbage Consulting specializes in developing and implementing robust engagement and outreach strategies for our clients. We:


  • Translate complex program rules and policies into language that is tailored and meaningful to stakeholders
  • Ensure that there are clear lines of communication from stakeholders back to policymakers, informing effective program development and implementation
  • Target outreach to specific audiences such as providers, consumers, advocates, and beneficiaries, to ensure that the goals of the initiative are clear and specific to each audience

Click on the projects below to learn more about our work.

California's Coordinated Care Initiative

Since 2011, Harbage Consulting has provided outreach, stakeholder engagement, and communications support to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) for the Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI).


The CCI aims to coordinate and improve health care for people dually-eligible for both Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program) and Medicare. We work to ensure that providers and beneficiaries have accurate and actionable information so they can successfully navigate the complexities associated with health care decision-making. In leading this project, Harbage Consulting:


  • Develops educational materials to ensure providers, beneficiaries, and their caregivers understand the CCI and their health care options;
  • Staffs an outreach team that hosts regular community meetings and outreach events, and works closely with providers, advocates, and beneficiaries to ensure they are informed and engaged;
  • Created and maintains as the program’s public website and manages the program email inbox;
  • Facilitates workgroups to enable stakeholder collaboration and solicit feedback to inform DHCS’ approach to program implementation; and
  • Provides DHCS with strategic program implementation advice guided by our extensive community-level and policy expertise.


For more information about our CCI work, read our CCI Case Study.

California Health Homes Program

Since 2016, Harbage Consulting has been working with DHCS and the Medi-Cal managed care plans (MCPs) to develop and implement a comprehensive engagement, education, and communications strategy for the state’s Health Homes Program (HHP) for Medicaid beneficiaries.


Our strategy focuses on developing and tailoring messaging and materials to specific stakeholder audiences – including MCPs, health care providers, Medi-Cal beneficiaries, and community-based organizations. Some of the materials we have developed include:


  • A provider toolkit to educate providers on how to establish the required care teams, develop and implement an individualized Health Action Plan, and work with the MCPs to meet information-sharing and data-reporting requirements;
  • A member toolkit that explains the HHP in simple language tailored to Medi-Cal beneficiaries, including how to sign-up for the program and what services are covered;
  • Provider training materials including motivational interviewing to support identifying patient preferences with respect to individualized Health Action Plans, working with providers on a patient’s care team to coordinate their care, helping people transition from different levels of care and facilities, and helping patients manage their health conditions; and
  • A Learning Collaborative to help the MCPs learn from their colleagues successes and challenges to strengthen the program overall.

Healthier Washington Initiative

In 2015, Harbage Consulting assisted the Washington State Health Care Authority with refining their messaging and stakeholder engagement strategy for the Healthier Washington Initiative as the state worked to merge its Medicaid section 1115 delivery system reform waiver proposal with its State Innovation Model (SIM) grant work. Our team:


  • Conducted a landscape assessment of current communications strategies and their effectiveness with key stakeholders;
  • Developed a comprehensive strategy for communicating effectively about the common goals of the two initiatives; and
  • Produced a messaging framework with materials such as infographics, slide decks, “elevator pitches,” and key messages.

San Diego County Behavioral Health Engagement Forums

In 2017, Harbage Consulting developed a community engagement strategy for the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency Behavioral Health Services (BHS). The goal of this engagement was to assess the impact of BHS services from the perspective of consumers, providers, and stakeholders to inform county planning and budgetary processes.


Harbage Consulting conducted two in-person community forums, one community tele-town hall, four population-specific focus groups, and one frontline worker tele-town hall. We collected feedback from nearly 400 San Diegans, including consumers, caregivers, providers, justice partners, frontline staff, community members, and other stakeholders. The results were provided to the county through a comprehensive report in the fall of 2017.

California Mental Health Planning Council

In 2017, Harbage Consulting worked closely with the California Mental Health Planning Council (CMHPC) to help them update their landmark 2003 Mental Health Master Plan. Composed of consumers and family members, the CMHPC serves as an advisory body to state and local governments on mental health services in California. Harbage Consulting worked with CMHPA to:


  • Work closely with their members to understand the CMHPC’s goals and objectives;
  • Develop a communications plan to coordinate the work groups and executive team;
  • Solicit and incorporate input from the work group members and provide project updates;
  • Design a user-friendly crosswalk of policy milestones and major events relevant to each recommendation, goal, and objective originally included in the 2003 Mental Health Master Plan;
  • Present an overview of the project to CMHPC members and answer questions; and
  • Assist work group members with preparing a final presentation for the CMHPC Quarterly Meeting.


CMHPC will use the final report to prioritize its future goals and objectives, reflecting the changes in the mental health delivery and financing system.

At the intersection of health care policy, politics and communications.