St. Vincent’s & Healthcare Transformation
An Important Message from CEO
Dr. Mike Schatzlein
The one constant in healthcare is change and I understand the pace of that change can be taxing. After reading this article, I hope you better understand the reason for these changes in addition to how they will benefit you.
"As an integrated ministry, we will help people lead healthier lives, transforming the healthcare experience through trusted personal relationships and holistic, reverent care."
Healthcare in the U.S. is broken
The U.S. healthcare system is in crisis and the current model is simply unsustainable. The Affordable Care Act has been incrementally helpful, but the issues are much larger than whether Obamacare succeeds or is repealed. The U.S healthcare delivery system clearly requires total reinvention and the need is urgent. Society cannot afford today’s costs and patients are neglected or even harmed at multiple points along the continuum of care. Even worse—quality, outcomes and patient experience trail other developed countries.
A Solution: Clinically Integrated Systems of Care
I’ve been thinking about and working on this for more than 20 years and am convinced the only hope for American healthcare lies in regional “Clinically Integrated Systems of Care” (CISOCs) comprised of health systems and doctors working together in a highly coordinated fashion. This view is shared by Ascension Health and has become a guiding principal in the evolution of our healthcare delivery model. In 2015, Ascension has specifically prioritized the growth and enhancement of its regional CISOCs in Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and central Texas. We’re adding Jacksonville to the list.
A New Vision
This challenging environment calls for a new vision for St. Vincent’s HealthCare. In recent weeks leadership and the Board have adopted a vision that will guide us in the reinvention work we face.
As an integrated ministry, we will help people lead healthier lives, transforming the healthcare experience through trusted personal relationships and holistic, reverent care.
The vision is of course supported by our unchanging Mission and Core Values. To achieve it, we will need to attain a state that includes:
- Mature physician integration and governance
- The largest, safest, highest-value system in our region
- 500,000 lives under our management
- Become the “Amazon of healthcare”
How Are We Implementing Our Vision for 2020?
Key 1: Serve Those Struggling the Most
This has always been the primary Mission of our sponsors, and we must work and pray about it every day. St. Vincent’s is the only health system in Jacksonville that actively seeks to provide healthcare services to those who are struggling. Last year, charity care and donations to nonprofit partners exceeded $85 million. We need to double down on this to preserve our core in this changing healthcare environment. It is integral to “who we are”.
Key 2: Integrated System of Care
The only way for U.S. healthcare to survive under the oversight of independent physicians is through the development of integrated systems of cares. If we can’t work with our doctors (employed, independent and aligned) to build a system capable of assuming responsibility for the overall care of populations of patients, our fate will ultimately be a government single payer plan, administered by our friends at the big insurance companies. We’ll all work for them.
This is so important that we’ve created a new operating division headed by Kyle Sanders and Dr. Estrellita Redmond to press this strategy forward. This year, we will reconfigure our entire regional strategy around identifying partners in the delivery of population health through the St. Vincent’s Health Partners ACO. Physicians and hospitals will also have opportunities to join us in the new St. Vincent’s Health Alliance, which will include ACO participation plus other optional services to provide comprehensive solutions to the challenges they face.
The goal is never to “discharge” anyone. Our continuum of care will serve a person’s healthcare needs from birth to death. To fulfill this we will build convenient, affordable and high quality access points throughout the community to better serve our neighbors where they live and work. Ten of these will be constructed over the next 2-3 years.
Key 3: Quality, Safety and Performance
The third key is the “QSP” initiative, named for “Quality, Safety and Performance”. Building on the Safe-Care foundation that has been laid in all of our hospitals, a newly restructured systemwide quality department will move rapidly to standardize reporting, and work with our medical staffs to help improve processes across the network. Aim4Excellence performance improvement teams will facilitate this effort.
Our hospitals are recognized nationally for quality, safety and patient experience. Now is the time for us to pool and consolidate our efforts. We can then better apply Lean principles to accelerate continuous improvement, and present a comprehensive picture to the community of precisely what standards of quality and service they can expect from St. Vincent’s.
As we continue to pursue consistent quality across the network through standardization and process improvement—we will also continue to lower our costs in response to declining reimbursement and to make healthcare more affordable for our neighbors. Even though our hospitals are already described by payors as the best value in the region, St. Vincent’s HealthCare must extend our lead on quality, safety, value and patient experience.
Key 4: Information Technology
Our fourth set of initiatives is around information technology. We must build a real-time longitudinal electronic medical record and we must work to facilitate clinical workflows. Twenty-first century medicine cannot be practiced without computers. The trick is getting the computers to work for us, instead of the other way around.
These are exciting times, and St. Vincent’s HealthCare is ideally positioned to navigate them. It seems as if the country is beginning to realize that we need the kind of care delivery system that St. Vincent’s is optimally positioned to provide. Medical homes, better communication among caregivers and with patients, and enhanced integration across the inpatientoutpatient continuum are all consistent with our Mission of holistic, reverent and safe care. The faith that informs our work separates us from every other area provider.