By Another Voice | Published February 3, 2018 

By Michele Mercer

As a population health services organization collaborating since 2015 with Medicaid providers across Western New York’s eight counties; we have seen the future of health care change take root, and are looking forward to 2018 as being a pivotal year of accelerated transformation.

In 2018, the traditional “pyramid” of the health care service structure with hospitals at the “top”, and other services and subsequent dollars flowing down from them, will continue to significantly “flip.”

As we continue to move forward, Primary Care services will be emphasized as being at the pyramid’s pinnacle; with improved health care quality, access, and outcomes being driven by best-in-class physicians who are supported and enabled by data analytics and information exchange technology.

This is by no means to suggest that hospitals will no longer play a major leadership role. Rather, that their leadership and expertise will continue to be directed towards supporting and accelerating the mission of getting patients whenever possible to Primary Care; with the objective being they receive the right care at the right time and subsequently avoid hospital emergency room use, admission and re-admission as much as may be possible.

The continued implementation of this new service model where Primary Care is closely integrated with Behavioral Health services, and both in turn, are closely linked with Community Based organizations, is what true transformation will continue to look like. At the “center” of all is of course the patient, and with the additional overlay of a value based payment system – as opposed to fee for service – all provider partners will be monetarily vested in working together to deliver quality, and measurement-driven outcomes.

To date, numerous industries have made the difficult but highly rewarding cultural change from operating separate areas of expertise and specialty; to moving towards becoming fully integrated enterprises. These industries have all put the customer at the “center”; and have transformed to where their aforementioned “siloed” departments/divisions now equally practice continuous improvement; pursue shared goals and objectives; and benefit from shared incentive programs.

The great news is that across Western New York, our health care system is likewise continuing to adopt and implement key Quality and continuous improvement concepts such as “delivery service integration”, “physician stewardship”, “customer/patient centric care”, “payment system reform”, and the promotion of “healthier patient behaviors”, and that these innovations will continue to come front and center in 2018.

Thanks to thousands of dedicated women and men who provide a brilliant spectrum of services, Western New York is blessed with outstanding health care. In 2018, by continuing to work together, our healthcare delivery system will continue to improve … and Primary care will lead the way.

Michele Mercer, RN, MSHA is chief clinical integration officer of Millennium Collaborative Care, a Performing Provider System (PPS), partnering with physicians, healthcare providers and community-based organizations to improve the delivery of health care for Medicaid patients across the eight counties of Western New York.



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