Can This Be the Healthiest Place in America?
With community 'champions' designated to help residents, the group plans to measure community progress toward achieving goals. Generally, the goals encompass what officials describe as a "broad spectrum and vision of health:"
- Social factors that influence health
- Education and "awareness" of healthy lifestyle behaviors
- Healthy eating
- Active living
- Social support network
The hospital will spend upwards of $200,000 for the program and Nichols says it's worth every penny. "There is no factor more important for health than [the] behaviors of an individual. At least 50% of a person's health is reliant on behavior and that's the whole notion of trying to create the healthiest community. So much happens outside the walls of a hospital, there's only so much a hospital can do."
Physicians have been working closely with healthcare leaders to reduce the amount of time people are spending in the hospital. Under its accountable care initiatives, the hospital has significantly reduced inpatient admissions, Nichols says.
"We got a jump on the whole notion of accountable care, and because of that, our physicians have developed some skills to keep people well and keep them out of the hospital," he says. "We've been about 50% below the national average for Medicare readmissions for some years now," Nichols says.
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