THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS incentivizing hospitals to change their focus from treating injuries and illness to supporting wellness through health screenings and preventive care. In this year’s Annual Hospital CEO Roundtable, we asked the following healthcare leaders to address how this transition is affecting patient care and the delivery of healthcare to local communities.
– Atlantic Health System, President and CEO, Brian A. Gragnolati, FACHE;
– CentraState Healthcare System, President and CEO, John T. Gribbin, FACHE;
– Englewood Hospital and Medical, Center President and CEO, Warren Geller;
– Hackensack University Health Network President and CEO Robert C. Garrett;
– Holy Name Medical Center President and CEO Michael Maron;
– Jersey City Medical Center President and CEO Joseph F. Scott, FACHE;
– Palisades Medical Center President and CEO Bruce J. Markowitz;
– Saint Peter’s Healthcare System President and CEO Ronald C. Rak, J.D.;
– The Valley Hospital, Valley Health System President and CEO Audrey Meyers;
– Trinitas Regional Medical Center President and CEO Gary S. Horan, FACHE.
System, our vision is to empower our communities to be the healthiest in the nation. Our community wellness strategy emphasizes targeted, outcome-based interventions and collaboration with our community partners. Our Atlantic Healthy Schools program is working with educators to create healthier places for kids to learn and grow. Our New Vitality program helps older adults maintain their health through free Healthy Living Profiles, evidence-based health coaching and classes. Our Healthy Communities initiative is reaching out into our most underserved, vulnerable communities to enhance access to preventive services and invest in built environment and policy changes to inform consumers and promote well-being. Part of that initiative includes Community Health Day at Morristown Medical Center, which in September marked 20 years of providing free screenings and services to underserved communities. The event provides about 1,500 screenings each year. Our Faith Community Health Partnerships enhance prevention in communities of faith and provide seamless spiritual support before, during and after patient care. We’re also investing in strong partnerships, including the North Jersey Health Collaborative, a joint venture with governmental and community-based organizations to conduct shared community health needs assessments and plans that are aligning our resources for maximum impact.
As a community-based, non-profit hospital, we are poised to meet the health needs of our community and through our community health needs assessment, we monitor and address the evolving, critical health concerns for the communities we serve in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Mercer counties. Nearly a decade ago, CentraState began preparing for the changing direction of healthcare by expanding our hospital with the Star & Barry Tobias Ambulatory Campus, serving the outpatient, healthcare needs of our community. We built a 177,000- square-foot addition dedicated to helping members of our community come to regain or maintain their good health. Rather than expand the number of inpatient beds, we looked at ways to help keep people out of the hospital. The Star & Barry Tobias Ambulatory Campus serves as a hub for reaching out and educating the community about the importance of health screenings for cancer, as well as chronic conditions such as diabetes. We have re-organized our services into the new LIVE LIFE WELL Program, which uses care navigators to address people’s underlying health risk factors. This, in addition to the CentraState Community Health Plan, launched in 2014 to help small employers, is designed to meet the wellness needs of our local communities.
We’ve expanded our outreach efforts to different patient populations through the launch of various cultural initiatives, in addition to growing our existing programs. Medical staff and community outreach work together to provide access to free health screenings, wellness services, and educational seminars. There are two approaches that we’ve found to be effective: we cast a very wide net, hoping to reach those who are underinsured or uninsured. Someone can receive a full assessment, flu shot, and screenings for diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, pulmonary, bone density, and more at our annual health fair. Then, we developed more targeted screenings, with the aim of eliminating cultural and language barriers. We host wellness festivals that cater to the Korean and Indian communities, staffed with bilingual physicians who provide free consultations and healthy lifestyle information. We also offer screenings for diseases that are prevalent in African-American communities, such as prostate cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Our team also has a strong presence at community events, to ensure the public is aware of the medical services available to them. Additionally, we are affiliated with the North Hudson Community Action Corporation Health Center, where our physicians provide care and other services to underserved populations in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).
As a nation, the healthcare landscape has changed from treating patients when they are sick to focusing more on preventive care to keep our population healthy. Hackensack University Health Network remains committed to improving the health of not only our patients, but of our entire community through population health management. With this goal in mind, the medical center has developed a number of strong programs that reach beyond the HackensackUMC campus and into the local and regional communities to provide individuals with the necessary tools to live healthier lives through streamlined treatment, preventive measures and educational outreach. Teaming up with HackensackUMC Fitness & Wellness Powered by the Giants, the medical center opened the Debra Simon Center for Integrative Medicine for services that support preventative medicine, chronic care management, rehabilitation and education for healthy living. World-class services offered at the center include behavioral health, the Molly Diabetes Education/Management Center for Adults and Children, the Institute for Breast Care, physical therapy, Health Awareness Regional Program and corporate wellness. The center also has a demonstration cooking studio, an apothecary, and offers acupuncture and chiropractic care. The center continues to grow and has served nearly 40,000 people since it opened in 2013.
Community wellness is an essential component of preventative care at Holy Name Medical Center (HNMC), whose mission is “to help the community achieve the highest attainable level of health.” Holy Name’s Center for Healthy Living offers medical screenings, wellness lectures, support groups, workshops, nutritional counseling, exercise programs and health fairs on campus and at venues throughout the community. Through HNMC’s Asian Health Services and Hispanic Outreach Program, thousands of individuals are screened annually for breast cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, liver disease and other conditions and provided with treatment plans. HNH Fitness, HNMC’s medically-based center in Oradell, offers personalized services that extend well beyond traditional commercial health clubs. Membership in HNH Fitness provides a direct link to Holy Name, its physicians and other healthcare personnel. Personal trainers promote lifestyle and behavior changes, and provide exercise and nutrition guidance to improve health and reduce risk factors for serious health issues.
Jersey City Medical Center and Barnabas Health are championing wellness programs tailored to the diverse needs of our communities with the mission of promoting good health through prevention and education. Several of our many initiatives are making a difference. “Wealth from Health” is our innovative self-management program with tangible rewards, allowing employees and community members to receive discounts as they actively take part in the management of their health and overall quality of life. This innovative program helps members lower their healthcare costs, earn reward points by making healthy choices and improve their quality of life. The Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center offers women convenient access to the highest level of comprehensive outpatient breast imaging services, led by a highly recognized breast surgeon. Our Women’s Health Center at Grove Street, scheduled to open in the fall, will offer patients world-class primary and specialty care in one convenient location. An experienced team will provide such services as OB/GYN, mammography, cardiology, sports medicine, reproductive medicine, radiology, midwifery and more with an approach that cares for the whole woman. The opening of the Women’s Health Center is part of our community-wide expansion of health services.
Palisades Medical Center (PMC) has a robust tradition of focusing on community wellness. Our clinical and medical staff, employees and volunteers work throughout the year with local leaders, healthcare agencies, EMS representatives and key community organizations to improve the lives of local residents. PMC conducts more than 100 community outreach activities annually, including free health screenings, educational seminars and classes. PMC’s strategic plan aligns with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for hospitals to identify, analyze and address healthcare needs. PMC’s comprehensive Community Needs Assessment identified cardiovascular disease as a top chronic illness in our area. In response, PMC has implemented a Care Transitions Intervention Model for cardiac care that is working to increase patient understanding of their disease, and improve medication management and care processes. We are proud that the New Jersey Hospital Association has recognized PMC’s efforts with its Community Outreach Award. In 2014, we expanded our outreach programs to produce the following impact: 5,000 uninsured and underinsured residents received free health screenings, including blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, heart rate, body mass index/BMI, peak flow and pulse oximetery; and 2,500 residents learned directly from medical experts about key health topics, including obesity and nutrition, diabetes and breast cancer.
Saint Peter’s Healthcare System is a premier provider of community wellness services, including healthrelated lectures, education, medical screenings, support groups, and inpatient and outpatient programs serving the residents of New Jersey. Notable among those efforts are the Saint Peter’s Community Mobile Health Unit, which serves Middlesex and Somerset counties and beyond by visiting an average of 300 different sites each year and providing health-related services and referrals to approximately 16,000 individuals annually, as well as our recently launched “patient-centered medical home” for high-need uninsured and underinsured adults with diabetes mellitus and hypertension who reside in central New Jersey. This initiative was fully implemented in April as a component of the federal Affordable Care Act and is designed to result in better care for individuals including access to care; quality of care and healthier outcomes; better health for the population; and lower costs by transitioning hospital funding to a model by which payment is contingent on achieving health-improvement goals and benchmarks. The healthcare of yesterday was too often about treating advanced disease symptoms in a hospital setting. Tomorrow is about halting disease before it can cost both dollars and lives.
To ensure we are positively impacting the health of the population we serve, we have embraced the goal of providing our community the right care at the right time and in the right setting. For example, we have established distinct Centers of Excellence that bring together preventive care, screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up education programs and services for a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. We also host a robust calendar of health education programming, reaching thousands of community members each year, and offer free health screenings. Our free screenings annually include lung cancer screening for qualified individuals, diabetes screening in partnership with other Bergen County hospitals, a comprehensive heart risk assessment for men and women, stroke and pulmonary screenings offered three times per year, prostate and breast cancer screening for eligible individuals offered in partnership with the Bergen County Cancer Education and Early Detection Program, colorectal screening and skin cancer screening.
Trinitas Regional Medical Center is a demonstration hospital for the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program which, in our case, is dedicated to mental health and substance abuse screening for all inpatients at Trinitas. Although the DSRIP program is extremely complex and resource intensive, we’re ahead of most hospitals in all phases of its implementation. Expansion of our Readmissions Reduction Initiative has cut our readmission rate from 34 percent to 12 percent among our cardiac patients who are at risk for 30-day readmission. Trinitas Advance Practice Nurses, pharmacists, and paramedics visit patients to assess diets, home conditions and other factors that might contribute to a readmission. Thanks to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, these patients receive a week of healthy frozen foods. With our high profile at community health events, Trinitas speakers discuss emergency cardiac treatments, stroke prevention, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. In our home city of Elizabeth, we partner with a local housing complex to create and promote awareness and prevention programs, such as one designed to offer parenting skills and tips on how to develop positive lifestyle habits for a lifetime of good health.