Published on February 12, 2013

Hospitals cooperate to tackle Northeast Florida's biggest health issues

Ashley Gurbal Kritzer, Reporter- Jacksonville Business Journal

The leadership of several hospitals and health organizations have come together to collaborate on a strategy that gives each entity its own responsibility to address local health care needs to improve efficiency and avoid duplicating efforts.

The Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida on Tuesday unveiled the findings of the 2012 community health needs assessment, which was conducted for the five-county area of Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Nassau and Putnam counties. Nonprofit hospitals are required to perform assessments every three years under the Affordable Care Act.

“There are no competing strategies,” said Dawn Emerick, executive director of the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida. “It’s a unified vision.”

Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and infant mortality were identified by the study as key priorities.

Many of the prevention and treatment strategies are already in place at several hospitals. St. Vincent’s HealthCare, for example, will use its mobile ministry vans as part of its strategy, and The Players Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children’s Hospital will be key in that hospital’s work on childhood obesity.

“What we’re doing is taking it a more metric-driven kind of way,” said Hugh Greene, president and CEO of Baptist Health of Northeast Florida. “So, what are we going to do next year and the next year? There are numbers and specific metrics to it. In the past we’ve been very program-driven, but I think what this takes us to is a much more measurable outcome so we can asses at the end of the year — what did we do individually? Did we do what we said we were going to do? And then what was the collective result of what we said we were going to do collaboratively?”

Baptist Health of Northeast Florida, Wolfson Children’s Hospital, St. Vincent’s HealthCare, Mayo Clinic Florida, Shands Jacksonville Medical Center and Brooks Rehabilitation are participating in the collaboration.

See Friday’s edition of The Business Journal for more in my reporter page.

Read this article in the Jacksonville Business Journal.