The Community Health Leadership Award is given annually to a health care organization that is serving its community’s broader health needs in innovative and lasting ways. We are looking 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 will profile all of the nominees over the next few weeks. These are great programs, and we’re excited to share their stories!
Healthy Children initiative, Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics
Nearly a quarter of the children in Mason County live in poverty, and a community health needs assessment identified mental health and obesity as population health metrics to target for improvement.
Under its Healthy Children initiative, Mason General Hospital launched three programs to make a difference. The programs increase access to free physical recreation by making extensive repairs to the community pool and upping its hours of operation; help high school students develop life skills around nutrition by working with them to cultivate a community garden; and improve education and career opportunities by establishing a Health Science Academy at Shelton High School.
The Healthy Children initiative reaches 11,700 children under age 18 in Mason County and has served as a catalyst inspiring others in the community to work together to affect positive change.
Highline Health Connections: Care Navigation for Vulnerable Populations, Highline Medical Center
Through a community health needs assessment, Highline Medical Center found a significant gap in health and health outcomes between its community and the rest of King County.
The hospital developed the Highline Health Connections: Care Navigation for Vulnerable Populations program to provide comprehensive, cost-efficient care to people who have chronic and disabling health conditions, are low income or need assistance with health literacy, or are health care “super users.” The program’s purpose is to improve health outcomes for these patients and thus reduce the cost of care, improving the community’s overall health.
Within the first year and a half, the program served 172 patients (exceeding projections) and improved patient health, improved the patient experience, and made a significant reduction in utilization, including emergency department visits and hospitalizations, saving an annualized total of more than $1 million.
Medical Unit 1, Confluence Health – Central Washington Hospital
Mental health and suicide prevention are among the greatest needs of the community of Confluence Health – Central Washington Hospital. It needed a more therapeutic and secure setting to care for adult mental health patients who needed to be stabilized, but it knew that creating more beds at state hospitals was not the answer.
In 2014, the hospital upgraded an unoccupied patient care unit to a 10-bed special observation unit, called Medical Unit 1, to provide quality care to adult patients who have been detained under the Involuntary Treatment Act, medical patients with a complicating mental health diagnosis, gero-psych patients and those whose cases are complicated by substance abuse.
Since it opened, the unit has run at 85-90 percent of its capacity and has reduced transfers to Eastern State Hospital by more than half.