Community Partners Gather to Develop Plans to Improve Health in the North Country

With the goal of promoting the Triple Aim of improved population health, patient experience and quality of care, and reduced health care costs, AHI – Adirondack Health Institute recently convened a group of more than 50 diverse stakeholders for the kick-off of the Population Health Improvement Program (PHIP). A New York State Department of Health (DOH) program that supports the state’s Prevention Agenda, the kick-off was the first step in creating a six-county North Country Population Health Collaborative (NCPHIC).

“We are very excited about this initiative and the large turnout of invested partners who came together today to begin sharing ideas and best practices to help greatly improve population health in our region,” said Cathy Homkey, CEO, AHI – Adirondack Health Institute. “This initiative will have far-ranging impact, not only for promoting population health, but also in its support and advancement of the Prevention Agenda, the State Health Innovation Plan (SHIP) and the State Innovation Model (SIM). It will also serve as a valuable resource for the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program’s Performing Provider Systems (PPS).”

In addition to introducing the initiative, the event involved looking at various factors that have an impact on population health. Anne-Marie FitzGerald, Community Health Services Evaluation Manager, AHI – Adirondack Health Institute, introduced an example of how a single socio-economic trend – an increase in the number of individuals’ and families’ inability to find affordable housing – has a wide-ranging rippling effect on health. “If you can’t afford your home, it could lead to poor nutrition as dollars to spend on healthy food choices are scant. That, in turn, could lead to mental health issues as the stress of managing bills becomes overwhelming. It could also lead to higher utilization of emergency room visits as preventive medicine, again because of cost,” stated FitzGerald. “So, you see, one factor can have a devastating trickle-down effect on a person’s well-being.”

Lottie Jameson, AHI VP – Regional Planning and Development, shared the meeting provided an opportunity to get various partners talking about how the sharing of data from other sectors could help everyone’s programs and services be more effective. “Think about the meaningful change we could collectively generate if we work together to make informed community-based and data-driven decisions and policies,” said Jameson. “With all the data out there, the question is how best to organize it in one place and bring it to life through sharing and stories. One comprehensive, regional assessment that would, in effect, combine all the current assessments conducted by various organizations would be a huge accomplishment and something this group with explore.”

Suzanne Lavigne, Director of Franklin County Community Services, commented on the value of sharing ideas and data with various partners from other sectors and how that could help everyone’s programs and services be more effective. “Our counties have a tremendous opportunity to chart a new course in how we support population health and wellness. Agency collaboration will be critical in order to establish priorities and achieve successful outcomes that will impact individuals, families and generations to come.”

“Next steps include convening quarterly meetings with our stakeholders to develop a community health data infrastructure to support regional initiatives,” explained Megan Murphy, Director, Community Health Services, AHI – Adirondack Health Institute. “Another exciting development will be the creation of a ‘HealthyADK’ regional website. The website will have user-friendly access to community health data, links to evidence-based practice strategies and information on initiatives in our region that address local issues. PHIP will support a data-driven approach to determining health priorities.

“Ultimately, our goal is to pinpoint how our partners who are providing programs and services that are clearly making a positive difference can share their best practices so others in the region can follow their lead and know they have a solid knowledge source to help the entire region.”

The North Country PHIP, one of 11 PHIPs in the state, covers Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Warren, and Washington counties.

PHIP kick-off presentation 1 of 2
PHIP kick-off presentation 2 of 2

PHIP kick-off attendees

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