Throughout their broad history in the U.S., health cooperatives generally fall into the following three categories.
Worker Cooperatives are owned and governed by the employees of the business. Worker-owned homecare cooperatives strive to improve service to clients through better working conditions for their workers.
Consumer Cooperatives are owned by the people who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative. They may provide insurance, employ physicians, or have their own health care facilities.
Purchasing/Shared Services Cooperatives are owned and governed by independent business owners, small municipalities and, in some cases, state governments that band together to enhance their purchasing power with the goal to lower costs, improve competitiveness, and increase their ability to provide quality services.
Examples of Cooperatives in the Healthcare Sector
Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA) is a nationally recognized worker-owned home care agency in the Bronx. CHCA was founded in 1985 to provide quality home care to clients by providing quality jobs for direct-care workers. Originally starting with 12 home health aides, the cooperative now employs more than 2,000 staff. CHCA maintains an employer-based workforce development program that provides free training for over 400 low-income and unemployed women annually and serves as a significant driver of employment in the Bronx.
In 2001, caregivers in Waushara County formed Cooperative Care to provide better wages and benefits to workers while offering superior service to people in the community. Since then, Cooperative Care has widened its service area throughout Central Wisconsin and continues to expand its mission of helping people stay in their homes.
Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative (CGHC) is a nonprofit health insurance cooperative serving 19 counties in eastern Wisconsin. As a cooperative, CGHC is governed by a Board of Directors elected by their members and operated for the mutual benefit of the members. Any earnings generated are returned to the membership in the form of lower prices and improved services.
Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin (GHC-SCW) is a non-profit, member-owned health plan providing high-quality health care services, including primary care and specialty care to over 80,000 members living in and around Dane County, Wisconsin. More than 40 years ago, GHC-SCW pioneered a movement in Dane County as the area’s first HMO. Community members came together to form a non-profit, member-owned cooperative that could bring health insurance and health care together for the benefit of members.
Independent Pharmacy Cooperative (IPC) is the largest group purchasing organization for independently owned pharmacies. IPC represents over 6000+ pharmacy members. Located in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and staffed by 140 employees, IPC prides itself on providing the most progressive and effective programs and services to put profit back in the independent pharmacy.
Cooperative Solutions for Community Care Needs Webinar. UW Center for Cooperatives, 2018.
Cooperative Solutions for Community Care Needs PowerPoint. UW Center for Cooperatives, 2018.
The Cooperative Solution to the Caregiver Crisis: A National Strategy Analysis. The ICA Group, 2017
How to Start and Manage a Worker-Owned Home Care Cooperative. Direct Care Alliance, 2010.
Recruitment and Outreach Toolkit. Homecare Cooperative Initiative/Cooperative Development Foundation.
A Start-up Case Study of Peninsula Home Care Cooperative. Peninsula Homecare Cooperative, 2018.
Articles of Incorporation Annotated Template. The Cooperative Network, 2012.
Bylaws Annotated Template. The Cooperative Network, 2012.
Underwriting Homecare Cooperatives: A Guide to Support Investment Decisions and Bring Home Care Cooperatives to Scale. Capital Impact Partners, 2018.