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5 ways to improve community health

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Point Pinos Lighthouse, Pacific Grove, Calif., on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula.

Healthcare consultant Sita Ananth dispenses some advice on living with the contradictions of community health based on the experience of a California hospital and health system.

“At Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, making the cultural and philosophical shift from volume to value began almost five years ago, President and CEO Steven Packer, M.D., told me. With almost 75 percent of its payments coming from public sources, the hospital’s leaders realized they had to find ways to bridge some of the costs of uncompensated care.

“Given the relatively small population of the county, they decided their only option was to collaborate with other providers, including competitors. The first step was to create a separate entity that would lead the collaborative efforts and provide the needed distance from the parent organization. They named the entity Community Health Innovations.”

“Packer stated that the key success factors for Community Hospital and Community Health Innovations have been the five T’s. I paraphrase them here:

  1. “Talent: finding and hiring the right executives and staff to engage in a new way of thinking, focusing on population health management (PHM) and building community partnerships.”
  2. “Training: Identifying best practices and learning from them. To that end, Packer and his team worked with the experts at Geisinger Health System to provide intensive training for case managers and care managers in various clinical settings.”
  3. “Technology: Realizing that interconnectedness is crucial. To manage the complexities of integrated electronic health records and practice management solutions, Community Health Innovations hired people with health informatics and implementation skills.”
  4. “Trustees: Educating governing boards that the move from volume to value will not translate into immediate profits….”
  5. Time: Building PHM capabilities and implementing them. It’s a time-consuming and all-encompassing effort, said Packer, and cannot be done either part time or in a hurry.”

To read her entire essay, please hit this link.

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