The Participants' Evaluation of Success
Permission to conduct this case study was granted to me by the Urban HSA based on my intention to answer the following question: "What have we learned from the health planning experience?" I expected to answer this question by participating in the work being done by the governing board and by the CON Committee (one of the four task force committees in existence at the time) as well as by interviewing the participants. The staff members who worked with the members of both the committee and the board included me in the process of reviewing proposals, writing staff reports, making site visits, and presenting staff evaluations during committee and governing board meetings. The data collection process lasted for twenty months, beginning in January, 1982.
The data are based on interviews with thirty-three persons (thirty of whom were voting members plus three ex-officio representatives of interested organizations in the area, such as the Veterans Administration Hospital) currently serving on the CON Committee and the governing board. Many individuals served on both the committee and the board. Each of these persons was asked to answer four questions: (1) How did you happen to become involved with the Urban HSA? (2) Do you feel you represent a particular constituency? (3) If you had to evaluate the HSA's performance on a scale of one through five (five being high), how would you rate it? (4) Knowing what we know now, what could the HSA have done differently? Each question was followed by additional probing questions to encourage the individual to expand on his or her answers. By the time we got to the fourth question, people were generally surprised to find that they had so much to say. In this chapter I will review the answers to questions 3 and 4. (Chapter 7 discusses questions 1 and 2. Observational data recorded during meetings are discussed in chapter 8.)
This chapter examines the characteristics distinguishing the consumer repre-