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Retiring Presence CEO says partnerships, community health are keys

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Sandra Bruce, who is retiring at the end of the month as chief executive of  the Presence Health system, in Illinois, says brokering partnerships is increasingly the key to effective hospital leadership.

Hospitals & Health Networks calls it ” the Starbucks-ification of health care. Hospital leaders — looking to treat the health of populations, focus on wellness and pivot away from acute care — are building up convenient, less costly to operate locations around their communities. They’re partnering with consumer-savvy organizations like Walgreens to add greater, um, presence in neighborhoods, and build brand awareness.”

“Presence Health…with 11 hospitals, is no exception. Earlier this month, it announced plans to partner with urgent care provider Physicians Immediate Care to jointly manage 10 such clinics in the state, and build even more down the line. Those would be open seven days a week and into the evening, offering everything from X-rays to suturing. This is part of a larger strategy to expand the health system’s ambulatory footprint, with 55 sites coming in the first phase.”

Speaking about community health, Ms. Bruce said: “In some cases, it’s going to be safer streets. It could be housing it could be food. I’m not sure what we’re going to find in every community. While we’ve all done these broad community needs assessments, we haven’t really focused on what I call a ‘true population health assessment,’ and then determined what partnerships we need to begin to address those issues.”

“I don’t know if {healthcare is at} a crossroads, but we have an opportunity to step up in this country and reframe what it means to be an American from the perspective of health. And if we step up and lead the revolution to work on some of these social determinants of care, in a decade or two, the country will look very different; our communities will look very different, and obviously health care itself will be delivered in a very, very different way. ”



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