West Virginia | 50 states of population health

Kelly Gooch -

KEVIN FOWLER. President and CEO of Cabell Huntington Hospital (Huntington, W. Va.)

On the top challenge

"I think for West Virginia [the most pressing health concern facing patients is] access. It's partially access to healthcare and it's also access to other resources patients can use that help them when they do need to access services. For instance, we often see obstetrics patients with almost no prenatal care. We see adults who come to us who have not been to a primary care doctor or had regular preventive health screenings. Unfortunately, when they do seek care it is too late to ensure an ideal outcome. It obviously puts the patients at risk and could be put the unborn children at risk. Building earlier access to care has to start with a trust between the healthcare entity and the community it's privileged to serve."

On the hospital's response   

"To that end, we launched the first ever regional health summit in this region last year, and we're planning an even larger one this year. In addition to West Virginia entities, our neighbors in Kentucky and Ohio are invited. About 45 different entities and 175 attendees [came] last year, including health departments and outreach programs, who came to Huntington, W. Va., to talk about improving health in our communities. From that, we've been working on at least 20 initiatives that address access to care, behavioral and social challenges and IT support, especially in sharing information across a variety of providers.

We're also doing many outreach programs where we work with local community centers to build after school programs for students in high-risk or underserved communities that are in and around our area. The goal is to start building a relationship beyond the healthcare walls so when we teach patients about the value of getting annual physicals and importance of taking prescribed medications, they are more willing to listen.

Additionally, we [recently] announced an innovative regional partnership with Marshall Health and Huntington Internal Medicine Group to create MHC Accountable Care Organization to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. This is a home-grown ACO where we will provide a highly coordinated, quality-driven approach to care for more than 13,500 Tri-State Medicare beneficiaries."

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