Cynthia Persily, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Persily is the CEO of Highland Hospital in Charleston, WV.
It seems that every time we turn around, we are announcing a new program for the Highland companies in Charleston. When I came to Highland almost 9 months ago, I promised to implement our strategic plan, and to help to move our organizations forward. And move we are! Last week I told you about a new program that we will be implementing in July in partnership with the University of Charleston called Advance Healthcare @UC. This week, I am pleased to announce that Highland Behavioral Health Services, Inc. (Process Strategies) has been approved as a provider for the West Virginia Health Homes program.
West Virginia Health Homes is an initiative of the WV DHHR Bureau for Medical Services. A Health Home provides a comprehensive system of care coordination for Medicaid members with chronic conditions. Health Home providers coordinate all primary, acute, behavioral health and long-term services and supports to treat the “whole person” across his/her lifespan. Health Homes have been shown to increase patient’s health and reduce medical costs. Since the focus is on the whole patient, all of the health care providers a patient sees are part of his/her treatment team.
Health Homes are a new initiative for WV Medicaid. The focus of the first Health Homes will be on members in a six (6) county region who suffer from bipolar disorder and who may have hepatitis B or C, a group of patients who may have higher than average health care costs, and complex health care needs. Kanawha County, where we are located, is one of the 6 counties in this first Health Homes program, and we were recently notified that our application to become a Health Home has been accepted. .
What does this program mean to Highland? First, it allows us to focus on the health of a population, as opposed to only that of individuals. Additionally, the funding that this program provides will allow us to implement services that benefit this population of clients, and will improve their health. We will be able to pull together all of our current resources such as behavioral health, primary care, and pharmacy services, and couple them with new services to prevent complications of the illnesses experienced by this population. We will carefully measure the impact of these services on the population, and use what we learn to improve the health of other populations.
So, we are moving forward into the new era of population health care, supported by the WV DHHR Bureau for Medical Services who recognize that coordinated care is the way to improve outcomes for patients with complex health care needs. We are proud to be a part of this first wave of WV Health Homes, participating in the development of this new model of care.