Maintaining Independence Through Informal Affiliations
Leaders at Ingalls Health System believe that a healthcare provider’s size should be measured not by its inpatient capacity but by the number of lives managed. The health system used that perspective to consider how to grow—and decided that merging with another organization held little appeal.
However, remaining independent does not mean maintaining the status quo. “If you are going to remain independent, you are going to have to be more innovative than larger organizations,” said Ingalls’ CFO Andrew Stefo. To address marketplace challenges, Ingalls has developed innovative strategic relationships with other organizations.
ACO Manages Care for a Growing Medicaid Population
Hennepin Health ACO is a partnership among four Minnesota allies—a county hospital, a health clinic, an HMO, and the public health department—that is reducing the cost of care for newly enrolled Medicaid beneficiaries. The ACO has already reduced readmission rates among enrollees by 2 percent within a seven-month period, and cut prescription drug costs in half.
The state of Minnesota pays Hennepin Health a set per-member-per-month fee to cover the cost of care for enrollees. Although most savings are reinvested in program services, a small amount goes to participating providers based on an annual gainsharing formula.
The Invisible Challenge of Care Coordination
Gerri Lamb, a 30-year veteran in the field of care coordination, was thrown for a loop when her own mother became ill, and she was thrust into the caregiver role. Lamb’s experience led to an epiphany: “My greatest passion now is patient-centered care coordination and shifting our measurement to look at what’s important to patients and families.”
Hospital Nutrition Program Supports Efficient and Effective Care
Mount Carmel Health System, Columbus, Ohio, is identifying patients who are malnourished— or at risk of becoming so—within 24 hours of admission. The health system’s admitting nurses use a three-question assessment to determine whether the patient should be referred to a clinical dietician for additional care. Early interventions for malnourished patients have been linked to shorter lengths of stay, lower hospital costs, and reduced readmission rates.
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