Hospitals are driving value and affordability through redesigning the delivery system, managing risk and new payment models, improving quality and outcomes, and implementing operational solutions. Read the case studies below to learn about how AHA members are applying these strategies to improve quality and decrease health care costs.
Tell us how your hospital is engaging with the 2020 election and we will feature your story. Email us at WeCareWeVote@aha.org. Please include your contact information, a photo, and a brief summary, and we'll contact you for more details.
Atrium Health, the largest health care system in the Carolinas, is committed to improving health, elevating hope and advancing healing for all. That is why the health system created the Healthy Democracy for All Initiative, which is about doing its part to remind and help its teammates and the communities it serves to participate in the census, register to vote and have the important information needed to be COVID-19-safe and vote early. Amid this year’s COVID-19 pandemic, it became clear to Atrium Health that normal get-out-the-vote outreach to its teammates needed to be dialed-up.
“Ensuring a healthy democracy is especially important at a time when the pandemic is impacting millions of people across our country,” said Eugene A. Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health. “Countless communities we serve don’t have access to public schools, libraries, civic centers and other places where they would typically register to vote. I am proud of the way Atrium Health is finding new ways to bridge this gap and ensure all voices can be heard.”
“Many of the traditional social avenues for receiving information about voting and the census – like libraries and courthouses – were inaccessible to many in our community, as everything was shut down,” said Kruti Patel, director of government relations at Atrium Health. “As the pandemic has limited social interaction that would normally occur in community centers and other facilities serving the public, the role of hospitals as a community hub has become even more important, beyond their traditional roles as health care providers.”
The Healthy Democracy for All Initiative is designed to increase awareness of the census and voting, encouraging teammates to exercise their rights in a COVID-safe way, using a multifaceted approach to share reliable, nonpartisan information. Among the communications created for its teammates, Atrium Health created a central website with information on voting and voter registration, important deadlines and state-specific information for teammates living in the many locations they serve. Additionally, Atrium Health created posters in both English and Spanish to be put up in locations throughout the system encouraging early, COVID-19-safe voting.
To make voter registration more accessible to patients and its workforce, the health system partnered with VotER, displaying posters to inform people waiting in a hospital emergency department how they could register to vote. Atrium Health also hosted voter registration drives open to both patients and teammates.
Atrium Health also engaged its teammates within the community, passing out census and voter registration information at its free mask distribution events, which helped provide more than 1.5 million free masks, many of them to front-line workers.
This election year, Providence wants voters to consider the health of loved ones, their homes and the planet – on a national and local level. The health system, which serves Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington, launched a comprehensive campaign to help the community and its staff to register and vote.
Virtually, the health system has leveraged sports and entertainment influencers as part of its social media campaign and lists on their voting website (https://vote.providence.org/) state health issues and an easy way to check voter registration status. Physically, voter registration cards are attached to patient visit summaries in the emergency departments of several of the hospitals to aid tens of thousands of patients in registering. In addition, Providence is bringing mobile polling vans to some of its hospitals so caregivers and clinicians can vote on site; and one of the hospitals is designated as an official polling site – open to the public, patients and caregivers.
“Elections have an impact on our families and friends,” writes Ali Santore, senior vice president of government affairs and social responsibility for Providence St. Joseph Health, in a blog post on the health system’s website. “During the pandemic, with widespread unemployment, it is more vital than ever to preserve health care coverage and access.”
Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation, is preparing to launch a campaign to empower and inspire colleagues and community partners with resources to engage in national health policy conversation, be informed voters, and engage in digital advocacy that will influence policy change.
Its Care for the Common Good Initiative, which will be presented within a deck-of-cards framework, will feature data and narrative messaging related to the value and importance of advancing policy change. Using infographics and other elements, Trinity Health says it will work with partners to present information on the intersection of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice and underperformance of the national health care delivery system.
The campaign will underpin Trinity Health’s beliefs that everyone should have access to high-quality, comprehensive health care; investment in public health is critical to our nation's safety and economic health; improving the health of communities is the right thing to do; and affordable, high-value health care is achievable.
For more information or to partner with Trinity Health, reach out to Stephanie Armstrong-Helton.
The Cleveland Clinic will partner with the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University to host on Tuesday, Sept. 29, the first presidential debate between presumptive nominees Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced yesterday. “This pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of health care and scientific discovery in unprecedented ways,” Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., and Case Western Reserve University President Barbara Snyder said in a joint statement. “To have the presidential candidates discuss these issues in our innovative learning space represents a tremendous opportunity for both institutions — and our entire region.”
Just over a year ago, Alister Martin, M.D., saw an overlap in individuals not registered to vote and those using emergency departments and community health centers for low-acuity or non-emergency complaints.
“The top three populations in both categories are those who are low-income, people of color and young Americans,” said Martin, who is a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and a practicing emergency physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. He immediately saw an opportunity to use these health care visits to increase voter registration and took on another title – executive director of VotER.
In coordination with a team from Harvard Kennedy School, a technology nonprofit called Turbovote, and the behavioral sciences firm ideas42, Martin launched an initiative that makes it easier for patients to register to vote while waiting in healthcare settings. The system uses a combination of site-based tools deployed at hospitals, clinics and community health centers, including kiosks, posters and discharge paperwork that allow patients to scan a QR code or text a number to register to vote directly from their smartphones. Turbovote makes sure registrations comply with state and local laws.
Due to COVID-19, the initiative has taken on a broader scope and now offers health care providers a Healthy Democracy Kit that helps to get their patients a mail-in ballot to vote at home this election cycle. This work will be featured in August during national Civic Health Month, a nonpartisan collaboration between healthcare organizations, voter registration organizations and providers aimed at making the connection between civic engagement and healthcare.
“At the end of the day, we wanted to put forth a system that is totally optional, non-partisan and does not impact or interrupt clinical care.” Martin said.
At least 60 hospitals currently use VotER with dozens more that have requested the program, and over 9,500 providers have ordered health democracy kits. Learn more and request a site based VotER set up for your hospital here or order healthy democracy kits here.