The health care industry continues to transform the way care is delivered. Under the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, instead of being paid for treating patients when they are sick, we will be paid for how well we keep our community healthy. The hospital’s future success is dependent on our ability to keep people healthy and out of the hospital.
Population Health Management (PHM) is becoming much more important for community hospitals because it will now be tied to emerging compensation models, especially the transition from fee-for-service to value-based models. Population health addresses the need to improve the health care of a defined population while managing the costs of that care. Both commercial and governmental payers, notably the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, increasingly are declining to pay for hospital visits considered avoidable, while linking quality with efficiency in care.
Our health care facility is not solely responsible for providing this care. Close partnerships are integral to a successful population health program. We will continue to explore opportunities to partner with others, ranging from community based organizations to large hospital systems and health plans to provide cost-effective access to specialized services.
An illustration of this is the addition of telemedicine services. We now offer psychiatric telemedicine services to better support primary care services throughout the region in partnership with St. Joseph’s Health. Patients have access to mental health services at our main campus and our Beaver River and South Lewis Health Centers. These collaborative efforts expand our clinical capabilities to help patients better manage their health. For population health to be effective, everyone must be invested in the health of our community. Over the coming year, you will see us expanding our wellness programs and working more closely with community partners on health and wellness initiatives.
The transformation of care would not be possible without the ongoing commitment and support of our Board of Managers, Medical Staff, Employees, and Foundation and Auxiliary. Our team at Lewis County General Hospital will continue to develop the tools, skills and connections to remain competitive in the ever-changing health care environment of care. This is essential to the sustainability of small hospitals like ours. Together, we can build a strong network of care for the communities we serve.