Community Paramedics: Bridging the Healthcare GapDecember 11, 2020
Ross County Highlighted at Rural Health Conference
Ohio Rural Health Conference and Flex Annual Meeting August 27-28
by Cathy Rich, CliniSyncPLUS Manager
Because of the Ohio Health Information Partnership’s work throughout Ohio during the past 10+ years, we have become aware of many communities working to improve the health of their residents.
This month, we would like to highlight the innovative work being done in Ross County (Chillicothe area) through a partnership between: Adena Health System, Hopewell Health Centers (an FQHC), Ross County Health District and the CliniSync HIE. The group is now known as the Ross County Medicaid Wellness Partnership and their vision is: To transform the healthcare experience through a culture of caring, quality, safety, service, innovation and excellence.
On August 27, individuals involved in creating the partnership: Bambi Huffman (Adena), Mark Bridenbaugh (Hopewell), Sharon Stanley and Dr. Jeff Hill (Ross County Health District), and Cathy Costello (The Partnership) provided the opening plenary session at the Ohio Rural Health Conference and Flex Annual Meeting at Deer Creek State Park.
The presentation, The WOW of Building Partnerships in Ross County to Improve Rural Population Health, provided attendees with insight on how various organizations located in Ross County were able to come together to identify health disparities in their area and then work collaboratively to begin providing better care for their residents.
To provide background, Ross County is a very rural community – only 7% of the land is developed and 88% is either forest, crops or pastures. As of the 2010 census, Ross County had 78,064 residents of which 31% were Medicaid participants, 55% of the residents are aged 25-64.
So, you may be asking yourself “Ok, but what makes this group any different than others in Ohio?” The answer sounds simple – way too simple. . . staff from each of the organizations actually sit down together each month and share data about patients, cost, ED utilization, etc. – not your “typical” discussion between organizations in an area. Through these discussions, the Ross County Medicaid Wellness Partnership has been analyzing data to determine areas of need within Ross County. The project has been divided into five areas of concentration:
- ED utilization
- Access to healthcare
- Behavioral health concerns
- Public education (e.g., health services, sites of care, insurance and chronic care; identification of pathways to distribute information)
- Community tools and personnel to create a more intensive model for care management.
Some of the advantages of a community approach to address the specific issues in Ross County are that it enables participants to:
- React more quickly to fill needs
- Tailor the project to meet the community’s unique situation
- Develop a solution that fulfills the partners’ business needs AND the community aims.
The members of the Ross County Medicaid Wellness Partnership realize they still have much more work to do; however, they also know that just beginning was a huge step towards improvement.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” – Henry Ford