Columbia Memorial Hospital Community Services Report to the Community 2011
The mission of Columbia Memorial Hospital is to provide our communities with safe, high quality, comprehensive health care services in a dignified and compassionate environment.
The Affordable Care Act provision requiring tax exempt hospitals to conduct community needs assessments (CHNAs) (Internal Revenue Code section 501(c) (3) presented an opportunity for our hospital to work with our local health departments in Columbia and Greene Counties and others with public health expertise to improve health in our community. Over the last few years, the level of collaboration between the hospital community benefit programs and public health organizations has increased significantly. Last year the hospital and the local health departments worked on a comprehensive assessment of the two county regions identifying needs and working toward a plan to meet those needs. As a result of the assessment, the Hospital focused on four main areas of concern.
- Access to Care
- Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, Healthy Families
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse
- Chronic Disease
Access to Care:
In 2011, the hospital added four Family Care Centers to our services and increased the employed physicians by nine. The plan included the recruitment of a pediatrician and the renovation of space in Hudson for the opening of Columbia Memorial Pediatrics. The Hospital's success in recruiting physicians has contributed to a qualified team of individuals committed to serving our community.
In 2011 the Hospital, with the support of grant funds, opened Rapid Care in the northern part of Columbia County. Rapid Care is open seven days a week, twelve hours per day. In 2011, the Hospital was also a recipient of the HEAL 21 grant funds with the plan to develop a more efficient system of primary care for the residents of Greene County through the restructuring of providers and a plan to renovate space in Catskill. The new center will provide a safety net offering comprehensive care and treatment for residents of the county. Plans are underway for the construction to begin in 2012.
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, Healthy Families:
Members of our obstetric department as well as our Family Care Centers work with local agencies such as WIC and the local Departments of Health to identify needs and work toward a plan to increase the number of women breastfeeding their babies. The breastfeeding coalition meets monthly with a comprehensive plan to address this need.
Dental Health Services: As noted in the Columbia County Health Assessment, the percentage of children ages 6-8 years with untreated caries in Columbia County is nearly two times greater than the Healthy People 2010 goal. Lack of dental insurance and a limited number of dentists accepting Medicaid compounded by a lack of public water fluoridation and lack of dental education are all contributing factors.
After careful review and a comprehensive survey of all the dentists within a thirty mile radius of the hospital, it was determined by the state that Columbia County is defined as a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). To address this problem, Columbia Memorial Hospital operates the Mobile Dental Health Services Van providing screenings, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, exams and digital x-rays, fillings and simple extractions for individuals within Columbia and Greene Counties. A dental hygienist visits elementary classrooms, Head Start and WIC sites to provide oral health education. The Dental van operates in fourteen local schools in Columbia and Greene Counties providing services to over 1000 individuals. The team also provides educational packets for all new moms on the importance of early dental care.
Child Advocacy: Another initiative undertaken by Columbia Memorial Hospital is the expansion of our children's services for children who have been victims of sexual assault and abuse. In 2010 the Dr Stephen and Suzanne Menkes Child Advocacy Center become accredited as a Child Advocacy Center by the National Children's Alliance as well as being designated a Tier I Center meeting or exceeding NYS requirements for best practice standard of care. The Center is overseen by a multidisciplinary team of experts and served over 300 children in 2011. In an effort to meet basic child safety standards and accommodate the volume, it has now become necessary to open a satellite office in Greene County. The additional space is scheduled to open in the fall of 2012. The new site will strive to meet all standards set forth by the National Children's Alliance.
Community Education: Last year, the education department team provided instruction for over 750 healthcare providers and community residents on the American Heart Association's, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Heart Saver (HS), Basic Life Support (BLS), and First Aid programs. All programs offered by the education department are intended to improve the health of the community and increase collaboration with local health agencies. The education program also facilitates the educational pursuits of students in the community interested in Health Careers. Last year approximately 225 students rotated within the departments of Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Speech, Medical Records, Laboratory, Cardiopulmonary and Medical Imaging. The Education Department also promotes health, wellness and safety of children by facilitating the Safe Sitter Program.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse:
The Hospital and the community partners meet monthly to address the needs of individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues. This year the group formed the Controlled Substance Awareness Task Force. The team members will work toward a healthier community.
The hospital also worked to obtain grant funds to expand care capacity for individuals in mental health crisis. Space in the Hospital's emergency department was renovated to accommodate the large number of individuals presenting in crisis. The department now has the capacity to provide a quiet area for patients to be properly evaluated in crisis situations.
The 30 Family Care Centers serve a large percentage of the community through the strategically placed Centers in the rural areas of Columbia, Greene and parts of Dutchess County. Providers are actively working toward a Medical Home designation as well as a National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) designation. Multiple Primary Care providers are applying for this designation which demonstrates our commitment to providing quality care to our patients. The Hospital also supports the Diabetes Take Charge Program which was recently accredited by the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
Patient Safety: In the process of meeting the needs of our diverse community and in keeping with our strategic plan, Columbia Memorial Hospital initiated a patient safety program, Safety Matters in May of 2009. Safety Matters was developed by our staff and is a comprehensive program that promotes Safety as a core value, builds accountability and identifies and solves system problems that lead to medical errors. All staff receive education and training on human error prevention techniques and are provided with tools to assist them in reducing errors, while delivering the best and safest care possible to our patients. Over 1300 staff has received the training which includes the Medical staff.
Community Health Services: Staff from the Hospital participates with community groups; this has led to the development of programs and services essential to meet the needs of our growing community. More information is available at columbiamemorial.com
Columbia Memorial Hospital has worked on multiple programs and processes to assist the uninsured over the past year. In an effort to better meet the needs of the community, a review of the financial aid program and uncompensated care was undertaken and Columbia Memorial Hospital increased the threshold for uncompensated care eligibility to 300% of the current year Federal Poverty Guidelines. The plan allows for improved access to facilitated enrollment programs through increased collaboration with service agencies. In addition, the hospital employs a Financial Counselor to assist uninsured individuals with program options that may provide better health coverage. The hospital continues the prompt pay discount program to offer higher discounted percentages for those individuals uninsured or ineligible for other financial assistance programs.