The Community Health Leadership Award is given annually to health care organizations that serve their community’s health needs in innovative and lasting ways. We want to recognize organizations that are not just serving patients, but are investing in solutions that improve the health of their entire community.
This award will be given by the Hospital Governing Boards Committee at the WSHA Annual Meeting on October 14. We are profiling all of the nominees in the weeks leading up to the Annual Meeting. These are great programs, and we’re excited to share their stories!
FDCARES, UW Medicine/Valley Medical Center
UW Medicine/Valley Medical Center in Renton partnered with the Kent Regional Fire Authority in 2015 to launch FDCARES: a unique program aimed at improving the patient experience and the quality and cost of care. The program seeks to reduce the number of avoidable emergency department visits by increasing the number of patients stabilized at home or sent to more appropriate care settings.
Operating with a fire department’s organizational structure, FDCARES deploys a clinical team composed of a registered nurse and a firefighter/emergency medical technician, who act as first responders. Care coordinators and a social worker provide ancillary care support and connection to valuable resources.
The program has received tremendous positive feedback from the community. Preliminary data suggests that the FDCARES model helps 911 callers not in an emergency get transported to a more appropriate facility than the hospital. Specifically, it reduced the number sent to the hospital by two-thirds compared to the standard EMS approach.
SCH Cancer Center, Sunnyside Community Hospital & Clinics
Sunnyside Community Hospital & Clinics (SCH) identified a need to increase the level of cancer treatment services available to the community while improving patient outcomes and overall cancer survival rates in its service area, which extends from the Tri-Cities to Yakima and is considered rural and medically underserved.
Led by Dr. Patricia Deisler, the SCH Cancer Center features a five-chair infusion unit for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy as well as exam rooms and a dedicated entry area at the hospital. The center is providing a new high-level service based on community need for more access to oncology services as well as a more comfortable treatment environment for infusion services and consultations.
Prior to the facility’s opening, cancer patients were forced to travel well outside the primary service area for care. They can now be treated close to home in a more comfortable environment, increasing their satisfaction and potentially their overall survival rates.
Aging Mastery Program, Morton General Hospital
Morton General Hospital partnered with Morton Senior Center to launch the Aging Mastery Program, which is a 10-week program for community residents ages 55 and older that addresses issues such as:
- Healthy eating
- Medication management
- Fall prevention
- Healthy relationships
- Advance directives
- Financial fitness
- Community engagement
- Navigating the challenges of longevity
Funded by a grant from the National Council on Aging, the program is offered at no cost to attendees and is offered in multiple locations and at multiple times in outlying areas to meet the needs of residents with a reduced ability to travel.
The program has been well received among participants and has had a number of positive impacts, as it helps participants be less isolated, network and build community, and learn more about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It also supports those caring for partners or family members in poor health and couples committed to staying healthy together.