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Baltimore hospital chief touts population health

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Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.

In an interview with The Baltimore SunSinai Hospital President Amy Perry talks about how she ushered in a new age of population health in that city.

One example she gave was  a patient who would show up often in the emergency room with complications from diabetes. She couldn’t make regular visits to primary-care physician to manage her condition because she couldn’t get out of her apartment.  So Sinai Patient navigators  helped her  find a ground-floor apartment.

“We are working with our patients to solve basic problems,” Perry told the newspaper. “We are trying to be our patients’ advocates way beyond health care.”

“What we have found is that population health has a lot more to do with jobs, violence, prevention, education and other factors than it has to do with traditional medicine,” she said.

The paper noted that “For years, the business model for hospitals meant they made money based on how many patients they saw and how sick they were.”

“Maryland is moving away from this way of doing business faster than any other state because of a special agreement with the federal government that gives it a higher Medicaid reimbursement in exchange for better controlling cost growth. But that means hospitals are given a budget each year to serve their patient population.”

“The changes are good for the hospital industry, Ms. Perry said, but nursing homes, doctors and others outside hospitals need to be similarly regulated.”

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