As American healthcare leaders, we must center patients, especially those receiving Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Centering patients means that we must respect them, listen to them, and then help them meet their needs. We must do this through every phase of a patient’s healthcare experience.
We must also establish real value-based business propositions if we want to galvanize and build consensus around why it’s important to improve the health of all Americans. We must build capacity and intentionally grow healthcare provider networks and nonprofits. We must also create integrated healthcare ecosystems based on client needs, trust, analytics, authentic relationships, and performance outcomes.
The integrated model we built at NEDHSA goes further than traditional clinical models and addresses negative social determinants of health. For example, our model includes transitional housing, food, education, transportation, workforce development, monetary assistance, and prevention and wellness strategies. It also includes working collaboratively with regional education, business, faith-based, veterans, seniors, and regional city and parish governments. Additionally, we have expanded health literacy and increased pharmaceutical access and compliance.
The costs are too high for our state and nation to remain divided on things that should unite us. When you add up the cost of lives lost, high medical expenditures, lost worker productivity, social strife, and hopelessness that come from unrealized potential, it puts our state and nation on an unsustainable downward spiral.
We cannot continue to allow significant numbers of vulnerable Americans to experience the debilitating upstream and downstream effects of spiritual, political, and negative social determinants of health if we seek to be productive and viable as a state and nation.