Piedmont shares plans for healthy community
by Bradley Hartsell
After months of extensive research and collaborative meetings, Piedmont Newnan Hospital has completed a community health needs assessment and developed implementation plans for the Coweta County community.
“What we found was not surprising and is similar for many communities — limited access to healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured, mental health related conditions, and high incidences of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke,” said Holly Lang, director of community benefit at Piedmont Healthcare. “But one size does not fit all. Each community is different as far as prioritizing those needs and where Piedmont can have the most impact by working alongside existing community groups.”
Public health data and collaboration with community leaders, stakeholders and other community representatives allowed Piedmont leadership to determine priority health issues and develop strategies to address them. Criteria used included:
• Number of persons affected; • Seriousness of the issue; • Whether the health need particularly affects persons living in poverty or reflects health disparities (gaps in quality care/access to care for populations of people); and • Availability of hospital resources along with community resources to address the need.
Through this process, Piedmont Newnan Hospital identified the following three priority issues for the Coweta County community.
• Increased access to necessary and appropriate care for uninsured and underinsured patients; • Reduced preventable readmissions and emergency department re-encounters; and • Reduced rates of obesity and obesity-related diseases, including diabetes.
Over the next three years, Piedmont Newnan Hospital will address these issues through a multi-faceted approach and implementation plans which will include the active participation of a coalition of community resources and leaders.
Among plans to address these issues are:
• Emergency department care coordination program working with relevant community partners to target preventable encounters;
• Support for expansion of the Coweta Samaritan Clinic through connectivity of electronic medical records and provision of diagnostics services at no cost to clinic patients; • Create community based partnerships to address underlying mental health needs;
• Examine the viability of building a Federally Qualified Health Center within the county;
• Work to eliminate certain socioeconomic barriers to accessing appropriate care, including transportation; • Continue to provide financial assistance to qualifying low-income, uninsured patients;
• Provide relevant materials into appropriate languages; • Develop a patient care self-management system with careful discharge planning and medication management;
• Provide relevant, health-specific information for community members/volunteers who work with vulnerable communities;
• Create anti-obesity program to foster healthy lifestyles for individuals and families who are obese or at-risk for obesity related disease through screenings, nutrition information, physical activity and monitoring.
For a complete list of implementation plans and next steps in building a healthier Piedmont Newnan Hospital community, visit piedmont.org/community benefit.