Date: October 20, 2011
- Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH)
- Linda Cumming, PhD, Vice President for Research at the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH) and Director of the National Public Health and Hospital Institute (NPHHI), NAPH’s research affiliate
- Steven R. Counsell, MD, Chief of Geriatrics and Medical Director for Senior Care, Wishard Health Services, Indianapolis; Professor, Indiana University School of Medicine; Director, Indiana University Geriatrics
- Caroline M. Jacobs, MPH, MSEd, Chief Patient Safety Officer/Senior Vice President, Patient Safety, Accreditation and Regulatory Services, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation
The usual way safety net hospitals wind up in the news in the US is when — faced with insufficient reimbursements and other reductions in funding — survival is questionable. The story angle becomes one of fiscal woes exacerbating and undermining the efforts of dedicated providers to deliver good care to mostly uninsured and underserved communities.
This situation and the necessity to address it remain quite real. But it often obscures another picture that's emerging in this critical sector of US health care: the ways in which safety net and public hospitals are innovating their way to greater stability. Even with financial constraints, they are improving care for patients, becoming leaders in quality and safety, and acting as mentors to other health care organizations interested in population health.
Denver Health, Contra Costa Health Services, Cambridge Health Alliance, and Stony Brook University Medical Center are just some of the names of places with visionary leaders and bold initiatives underway — so much so that they're gaining the attention of national policy leaders in search of new models of care to achieve health reform.
WIHI host Madge Kaplan speaks with Bruce Siegel and Linda Cummings of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, who describe a comprehensive agenda for change that’s underway to support the ambitions of their members. In addition, Caroline Jacobs of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and Steve Counsell of the Indiana University School of Medicine and Wishard Health Services provide some rich examples of what’s being achieved at their hospitals on the front lines of care.
The focus of this WIHI is especially timely as all of health care gears up to engage with greater numbers of low-income patients gaining insurance under health care reform. Who better to turn to for decades of experience but public and safety net hospitals?