On Tuesday, Oct. 15, Denis Conroy, chief executive officer of Addison Gilbert and Beverly hospitals, along with Cindy Cafasso Donaldson, vice president of Addison Gilbert Hospital, will host a Cape Ann community forum and welcome all residents to attend.
The Cape Ann community forum is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 15 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, and it offers the community an opportunity to hear from Denis and Cindy about the successes and momentum achieved at Addison Gilbert Hospital.
In addition, I would like to share some of the opportunities for Addison Gilbert Hospital as a member of Lahey Health and discuss how our model of healthcare is working.
Our approach at Lahey Health is a simple one: If we keep people healthy and subsequently out of the hospital, care for those who are sick near where they live and work, and reserve high cost medical centers for only the sickest patients, we can crack the quality-safety-cost “code” on health care in a way we have not been able to until now.
Stuart Altman, health care economist and chairman of the Health Policy Commission Board, was recently quoted in the Boston Globe as saying, “One of the reasons that Massachusetts is so expensive is that we disproportionately use our most expensive facilities for routine care. That’s where the money goes.” Altman suggests that health-care providers should offer appropriate care in community settings, and use larger teaching and research hospitals only for more complex services.
We could not agree more. It is why we formed Lahey Health.
In Eastern Massachusetts we are fortunate to have a remarkable selection of superb healthcare resources with incredible scope: basic science research intensive centers, teaching and clinical research hospitals and great community hospitals.
However, in our region, many more patients get hospital care in higher cost centers compared to other major metropolitan areas in the country – including New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
We take seriously our moral obligation to inform patients that high quality care is available in a variety of settings and that most of their hospitalization needs can be provided with the same quality and safety, but at a lower cost, in their community hospitals.
The overall health and economic well being of a community are enhanced when care is delivered close to home. When providers work together, we can deliver high quality care at a sustainable cost which translates to higher value for our patients, insurers and employers.
Community hospitals can provide a superior patient experience and patients are treated in familiar settings, reducing stress and anxiety. Patients who access behavioral health and senior care services in the community setting also benefit. Our local institutions are not-for-profit assets of the communities they serve and should remain vibrant community resources.
We formed Lahey Health a year and a half ago. The initial results are promising and the affiliates of our organization have realized early and frequent success. Locally, we have been able to add new and expanded clinical programming at Addison Gilbert, such as increased access in the Diabetes Care Center, cardiovascular services and, coming soon, an anticoagulation management clinic.
We have invested in new equipment to assist clinicians, while continuing to deliver high quality healthcare to residents of Cape Ann. We recently purchased a new, state-of-the-art 32-slice CT scanner that will allow radiologists to conduct faster and more detailed exams and will be an integral part of the free low-dose lung cancer screening program that we will be offering to the Cape Ann community in the coming months.
Unlike the rest of the industry, Addison Gilbert has not experienced declining utilization of the emergency department or inpatient services. In the last four months, Addison Gilbert has experienced an increase in admissions and emergency visits; indicative of the trust the community has put in us – and the high quality of care we are able to deliver in the community setting.
Addison Gilbert has also recently received a Health and Human Services grant that will enable us to enhance our partnership with Cape Ann primary care physicians and the Gloucester Family Health Center to improve the coordination of care for patients with complex healthcare needs.
These steps are just the beginning. At Lahey Health, we remain committed to working with you, so we can build a stronger community-based health-care system together. If we are forward-thinking, efficient and apply an integrated approach when it comes to healthcare, Massachusetts will be a model for the rest of country.
I urge the residents of Cape Ann to join Denis and Cindy on Tuesday night and remain engaged in the continued dialogue with hospital leadership. Thank you for your support and trust in Addison Gilbert and in Lahey Health.
Dr. Howard Grant is the president and Chief Executive Officer of Lahey Health.