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Maintaining Systems of Care in the Midst of Shock (WP-23-20)

Joshua-Paul Miles, Marwa Tahboub, Zachary Gibson, and Michelle Shumate

The COVID-19 pandemic created massive disruptions across society. These disruptions put into focus integrated social service referral networks’, hereafter systems of care, ability to be resilient in times of crisis. This research examines 11 systems of care across the United States. The researchers compare network performance before and immediately following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic using quantitative service episode data (N = 2,579). Resilience is measured by examining whether networks improved their time to service (i.e., efficiency) and case resolution rate (i.e., effectiveness). The authors explain systems of care resilience and fragility based on in-depth interviews with care system workers (N = 17). Through these interviews, they identify three strategies that support resilience (1) coordination change, (2) network reduction, and (3) network growth and connection. In addition, they identify three factors that explain system of care fragility: (1) lack of capacity, (2) technology barriers, and (3) over-reliance on familiar providers.

Joshua-Paul Miles, Assistant Professor of Organizational and Corporate Communication, Marquette University

Marwa Tahboub, Department of Communication Studies, Northwestern University

Zachary Gibson, Research Associate, D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Syracuse University

Michelle Shumate, Delaney Family University Research Professor, Department of Communication Studies, and IPR Associate, Northwestern University

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