In the world of healthcare, there are those who diagnose, those who treat and those who maintain a patient’s health. And often, the later is overlooked by the prior simply because the level of care isn’t considered clinical.
From making sure a patient has transportation to an appointment or understands portion control to maintain a healthy weight, this type of care often puts those who provide it at a disadvantage from those who treat and diagnose.
“We don’t always look like a healthcare partner,” said Angela Marino, COO of LifeSpan Resources in New Albany, Ind. “We address social issues that affect health and that isn’t always looked on as providing care. Doctors diagnose and repair. We do the next step. We maintain.”
LifeSpan Resources serves more than 1,800 physically disabled Medicare and Medicaid patients and their caregivers within its service area of Clark, Floyd, Harrison and Scott counties. It is one of 15 Area Agencies on Agency (AAA) in Indiana. So that means at some point in a patient’s care experience, LifeSpan Resources will most likely play a valuable role in the care process.
When Qsource, Indiana’s Medicare Quality Improvement Organization (QIO), approached LifeSpan Resources to be a member of a Community Coalition, Marino said the invitation validated what she already knew to be true.
“You have to break down the silos that exist in providing care,” she said. “We focus on social determents of health and case management. Which is extremely important. Especially when it involves coordinating transitions of care for patients going from one clinical setting to another and ultimately back home.”
There are 10 Community Coalitions in Indiana coordinated by Qsource as part of Medicare’s national directive for coordinated quality improvement. As a member of a Community Coalition, every person at the table has a voice and brings knowledge that can be shared. The goal is to take that knowledge, digest it into a relatable process that can be implemented for continuous improvement and spread across healthcare settings.
It’s that seat at the table that Marino says, “Breaks down the silos and allows us to work together. It legitimizes us as a care provider. Qsource connects community health partners.”
But this opportunity isn’t the first time LifeSpan Resources has had a seat at the proverbial table. The company has worked with Indiana’s QIO previous as part of a federal pilot program aimed at connecting hospitals and other care providers to communicate and coordinate the care of shared patients.
“Being a part of the Community Coalition really allows community health partners to sit down, talk and share thoughts, ideas and solutions. When we do that, we discover that our goals align,” Marino said.
If your organization is interested in becoming involved in a Community Coalition, please contact Qsource and we will connect you with community members waiting to pull up a chair and partner with you.