Maryland | 50 states of population health

BARRY RONAN. President and CEO of Western Maryland Health System (Cumberland)

On the top challenge

"Social determinants of health are our greatest concern."

On the hospital's response

"WMHS has implemented many approaches to value-based care, and a number of population health initiatives have been put into place throughout the community. WMHS has established many safety-net partnerships throughout the region with pharmacies, the local health department, social service agencies, the business community, food bank, the boards of education, chambers of commerce, city government and our colleges and universities. By collaborating with community partners, WMHS is working to build a culture of health and provide comprehensive care to its community and the surrounding region. Through this culture of health, WMHS initiated and continues to provide community leadership for Bridges to Opportunity, which is a program to bring people out of poverty. The program has placed a focus on food insecurity throughout the community with education around healthy eating, school exercise programs and several feeding programs for children and the community at large.

WMHS has gone even further by establishing seven community gardens and an orchard, in partnership with others, to ensure fresh fruits and vegetables are available in the surrounding food desert locations. During Thanksgiving, WMHS provides meals to thousands in the community at the hospital and delivers meals to those who aren't able to come to the hospital for the free meal. To deliver accessible comprehensive care to the community, WMHS is providing primary care clinics or 'hot spot' clinics in homeless shelters, churches, senior centers and municipal buildings. These clinics are placed in communities where the health system has seen an increase in ED visits, admissions and readmissions, as well as where there is a greater concentration of diabetes, congestive heart failure, COPD and hypertension. In providing more community resources, WMHS has also bolstered transportation to and from the main hospital and clinics to help with the area's transportation deficits.

When delivering the value-based care model and the initiatives surrounding population health, it is necessary to respond to the needs of the community. WMHS and many partners have taken the initiative to address the growing opioid epidemic within the local and regional communities. Collectively, we have established a task force to target specific initiatives and pathways to help those facing substance abuse issues. There are many health concerns facing our community, but by creating many community partnerships, we are well positioned to address those concerns now and into the future."

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