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Steven
Posted by Mr. Steven M. Walsh on Jul 29th, 2019 11:40am

The following blog post is from Guest Commentator Jody White, President and CEO of Lowell General Hospital and Circle Health, Executive Vice President of Wellforce, and the current chair of the MHA Board of Trustees:

As I assume the Chair of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association Board of Trustees, healthcare in our state and nation finds itself on the precipice of transition and change.

In Massachusetts, we are privileged to have access to some of the greatest talent in the country, if not the world, and with that privilege comes a responsibility to light the way forward.

It is my hope that over the next year I can help our member organizations advance our goals by driving consensus in three areas that will shape the future of care.

First, we must continue to expand our thinking well beyond the four walls of the hospital as we seek to better connect all components of our commonwealth’s health system. And it is crucial that these efforts be driven and informed by the voices of our physicians. Our caregivers drive innovation at their own workplaces every day and their voices will prove to be an invaluable part in evolving our system as a whole.  

Second, we must understand our association’s role in moving care “upstream” and address those factors that challenge health. What is our role in advancing the agenda to address social determinants of health? And are we prepared to challenge a fee-for-service delivery system that needs disruption?

And finally, we need to keep our great association focused on working together as a powerful voice that is prepared to move healthcare forward.

As our industry continues the march towards value and reducing the total cost of care, it will be critical that we find innovative ways to connect all aspects of healthcare delivery; continuing to work in disconnected silos will only serve to hinder our progress.

These forces will drive us to a better understanding of the complete care continuum, to new and expanded partnerships that improve access and efficiency, and of course the imperative to engage and empower our physicians as never before.

It’s very important work.

When we added "Health" to the MHA name, we did so with purpose.  Collectively we all have numerous and varied efforts underway to bring our community benefit plans to life, and to fulfill our responsibility to improve the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve.

As I think about our industry evolving away from traditional, fee-for-service transactions and towards a renewed focus on creating health, I believe the MHA member organizations are poised to add value.

At Lowell General Hospital and Circle Health, we are taking bold steps to improve the overall health of our communities by improving access to care and proactively addressing the non-clinical factors that lead to high utilization, readmissions and poor outcomes.

By looking to have a more "upstream" influence on the well-known factors that affect the health of those we serve, we are challenged to move away from our fee-for-service system that rewards "doing things to sick people."

We will be asked to think differently about not only the total cost of high quality care but also about finding new ways to fund investments that prevent illness in the first place. Several of our members are well along in this journey and it is my hope we can all learn and engage.

Additionally, all of this work would benefit from enhanced partnerships with the payer community.  Finding common ground and fixing our eyes on strategic partnerships that focus on protecting and improving health versus transacted, multi-year contracts will be essential.

Over the next year, I look forward to leveraging our collective knowledge and strength to advance an agenda that is impactful, transformative and helpful to all whom we serve.

 

Jody White is President and CEO of Lowell General Hospital and Circle Health, Executive Vice President of Wellforce, and the current chair of the MHA Board of Trustees.

 


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