As I reflect on my 30 plus years as a nurse and a leader in health care, I am struck by the passion and commitment of my colleagues who have dedicated their careers to making health care better in North Carolina despite a shrinking bottom line, rapid advances in technology and a workforce shortage. The passion and personal care we give to each patient never falters.
This year, the NCHA Board of Directors and leadership have done a lot of reflecting as we prepare for our 2018 Centennial celebration. The past century has seen rapid expansion and growth of community hospitals, the dawn of robust quality improvement and migration from fee-for-service to quality-focused pay for performance. Multi-hospital health systems are growing rapidly with a variety of management arrangements, while other systems are making the decision to remain local and independent. Both are working hard to continue serving the communities where they have existed for decades.
While the care delivery model may vary, working toward high reliability of systems and processes that reach across the continuum is everyone’s goal. NCHA recognizes that in the future the support and value we can deliver to you is to expand our reach as well by working across delivery care lines into the community. Partnering with state and national organizations to deliver quality and patient safety programs will help you achieve your goals, and improve NC overall performance in merit-based programs and health rankings.
On Jan. 1, 2018, NCHA will change our name to the North Carolina Healthcare Association. It is a bold move to signify our passage into the next 100 years and support our focus on growing partnerships with post-acute care, local providers and community partners to engage in purposeful ways to improve health care for the citizens of our state. Our Pneumonia Knockout Initiative, started this year, is a great example of cross continuum improvement work. Our Advisory Board includes representatives of more than 24 leading state health organizations and members co-designing our work to reduce 30-day pneumonia mortality and readmissions.
Our Patient Safety Organization, newly renamed as The Quality Center PSO, continues to grow with plans to expand to a national footprint. Our organization, along with other PSOs across the country, serves to accelerate the sharing of best practice on top safety issues while delivering content at a local level to our members.
In 2018, we will expand our focus on health disparities and partner with other organizations to close the gap on some key issues like infant mortality and low birthrate. We will be advancing our analytic programs and begin looking at Medicare Part A cross continuum data in order to better engage and plan meaningful improvement work.
Our commitment to our members in 2018: Listen to your needs, co-design programs with you and the community, right-size and deliver programs, and accelerate NC healthcare rankings.
On behalf of NCHA’s Quality and Clinical Performance Improvement team, we wish you joy and peace and thank you for all you do to make a difference in the communities you serve!
Karen Southard, RN, MHA
Vice President of Quality and Clinical Performance