Millenniumcc.org: It’s clear UPC did a tremendous amount of work to fortify your foundation and strengthen your business which set the stage for your continued growth. Given all this progress, why initially connect with DSRIP?
Gail Speedy Mayeaux: I think that goes back to what we’re really all about. We’ve talked a lot about the business strategy, but I don’t want to lose sight that everything we have ever done has ultimately been to meet the needs of our community.
Even before we were an FQHC, we cared about the needs of the Cuba, Houghton and Olean communities. What do these communities need? How do we provide services to these communities? How do you make certain that the services are quality driven? And how do we make sure that it respects where somebody is? So, when DSRIP came along, the impression was – from both the business of health care and health care itself – what appealed was the idea of really creating a system that is patient friendly, patient centric that removes duplication and cost.
When we talk about reduced hospitalizations and reduced ER use, what’s really critical, and what sometimes gets missed, is how traumatic it is for a family member to be in the hospital or to be in the ER… and how that can have such long lasting implications if you don’t have insurance.
Or if you work part time – and are working almost full-time hours – but because you’re part time, you don’t have vacation time. Or you do have vacation time, but you don’t have enough. Now you have a personal financial implication. What if you’re a single mom and you don’t have access to care, and you need to take your 5- year-old to the ER for an ear infection which was the number four reason that our people were using the ER … but you also have a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old and your child came home off the school bus complaining “I have an ear ache” and the first thing you have to do is get him fed, get him ready, get school work done; then you’re going to the ER with these three children and you might not get home until 9 PM at night… and who’s going to want to get up and go to school tomorrow?… and how is that child going to be successful?
I think a lot of the appeal of DSRIP was making healthcare rationale for all of us. For myself as a consumer; as an employer and as a family member of people who use the healthcare system.
On the business side of DSRIP, we spent a lot of time hearing about Value Based Payment back in 2013; we recognized that if we were going to be what we needed to be for our community, we also needed to be prepared to financially support the model. And I think that was important.
And the final thing was understanding that there is a regionality to healthcare and even though we are in a very rural area, we expect our patients to make that travel — especially if they are going to see a specialist — so how do we develop the relationships that will at least grease that wheel.