SC&H Group Podcasts: "Expertise Beyond the Numbers"

Success Matters Series: The Power of Community Partnerships in Healthcare Delivery and Continuum of Care Programs Based on LifeBridge Health Case Study [Podcast]

No single industry in the United States has experienced more change and disruption in the past six years than the healthcare industry. In the following “Success Matters” podcast, Neil Meltzer, President and CEO of LifeBridge Health, discusses how the Affordable Care Act has affected the healthcare industry, and provides insights into the future of quality care delivery.

The passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, also known as Obama Care, was an attempt to make our national healthcare system more efficient and to increase the quality of patient care. All healthcare organizations were faced with a multitude of changes and challenges ― some have thrived, some have maintained, and some have failed.

Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, LifeBridge Health is one of the largest, most comprehensive, and most highly-respected providers of health-related services to the people in the region.

LifeBridge Health consists of four hospitals, hundreds of primary care and specialty physicians throughout the region, and many affiliated health-related partners. LifeBridge is a strong advocate for preventive services, wellness and fitness services, and programs to educate and support the communities it serves.

Neil Meltzer began his relationship with LifeBridge Health at Sinai Hospital in 1988 as Vice President of Operations, and has ascended the ranks, now leading the entire LifeBridge Health system. With a background in public health, Neil tends to look at the universe through a similar lens. So naturally, when the Affordable Care Act was passed, LifeBridge made a strategic decision to focus on addressing Continuum of Care needs, rather than collecting hospitals like many health systems.

Neil and his team believe that healthcare should remain local. After conducting a gap analysis, LifeBridge discovered opportunities to add urgent care and post-acute care resources within the system. Believing in the power of partnerships, LifeBridge began to form relationships with best of breed organizations to make urgent care and post-acute care offerings available in the community. LifeBridge now provides these services, in addition to radiology, physical therapy, laboratory medicine, surgical centers, and more, through strategic partnerships.

The LifeBridge leadership team stayed true to their mission, and through the power of partnerships, identified ways to provide high quality care for the community in a fiscally responsible way. Today, roughly 58 percent of LifeBridge’s revenue comes from non-hospital based services – with leaders viewing this positively.

Through the power of an additional partnership, LifeBridge was able to reach even deeper into the community through its acquisition of Carroll Hospital Center approximately 16 months ago. Because of this acquisition, and the resulting consolidation of key services, both organizations now provide clinical expertise in certain areas that didn’t exist within the community previously.

As Neil reflects on a few of the greatest lessons learned since the Affordable Care Act was passed – community remains a common theme. No matter where you are in the country, individuals will gravitate toward local healthcare. And, no matter what happens, there is no substitute for high quality, cost-effective, community-based services. But, in order to make this all work together – organizations need a good professional community. Systems need dedicated, energized staff to make quality, community-based healthcare a reality, with employee and physician engagement key to organizational success.

As baby boomers age, there will be an increasing need for systems to deliver – and improve – quality healthcare along the Continuum of Care. As transformations occur within personalized medicine, and healthcare delivery models shift from volume to value, the industry must embrace change, and focus on population health.

Unless systems and providers continue to grow, they will fade. But, by exploring creative alternatives and embracing the power of partnerships, organizations can thrive despite market disruption and regulatory change.

Interested in not just surviving—but thriving—despite changing market conditions? Contact Christopher Helmrath for further insights into partnerships as a strategic growth option for your healthcare organization.

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