By Gene E. Green, MD, MBA, President and CEO of South Shore Health System
As an independent community health system, it’s our responsibility to innovate and grow to ensure our patients have access to the right resources, at the right times, and in the right places. We consistently rethink our approach to what will help South Shore residents, including making healthcare as accessible and cost-effective as possible.
As part of our ongoing transformation, our Health System will begin providing emergency medical services to the Town of Weymouth. To say that we are excited about what this means for the health of our patients and families is an understatement.
This partnership, which officially began on July 1, enables us to continue to deliver integrated care in meaningful ways that meet the growing needs of the communities we serve. By extending our services out into our hometown, and with forthcoming new state regulations, we’ll have the flexibility to provide emergency services in the environment that is most appropriate to the patient’s needs – whether it be in an emergency room, urgent care center, or even care in the home. This approach will help lower the cost of emergency medicine, increase accessibility to care, and reduce the strain on our emergency department, which too often is bursting at the seams.
Up until now, our patients really only had two options after calling 911: refuse care or be transported by ambulance to the ER. That’s an antiquated model. It also isn’t reflective of the options that are available for urgent medical treatment, particularly given the advancements in technology. It isn’t consistent with the Health System’s mission of providing customizable care in settings that are convenient and close to home.
With mobile integrated health regulations, we can pilot moving away from the “one destination fits all” ambulance service, and we’ll be able to more appropriately bring care to a patient, rather than always bringing the patient to the ER – which is not nearly as effective or affordable, for the patient and their family.
In fact, nearly 50 percent of all ER visits are actually not emergencies at all. This is precisely why we have to transform the way that we provide care to patients – especially those who are not experiencing severe trauma or life-threatening illnesses.
A person experiencing complications related to the flu, for example, likely doesn’t need the same level of care as someone who is injured in car accident. Because of our partnership with the Town of Weymouth and others that we have established within the community (Health Express being one), our EMTs and paramedics will have the opportunity to provide care – or transportation to alternative settings for care – at a much lower cost than an emergency room visit. Our ultimate goal is to provide Mobile Integrated Health using patient-centered mobile resources in out-of-hospital environments, reserving the ER for the most serious of situations.
Through new technology and updated infrastructure, our team will be able to assess the patient’s condition and make decisions in conjunction with the patient and the patient’s family that are best suited to meet their short- and long-term medical needs.
Speaking of our team, over the course of the last six months we have assembled a phenomenal group of professionals to help support our enhanced 911 services.
Since being awarded the emergency ambulance service contract in December 2017, we’ve almost doubled our emergency medical services personnel, adding 60 new employees and four dispatchers to support our existing team of 70. Altogether, our EMTs have on average 10 years of experience and our paramedics have an average of 16 years of experience on the job. We’ve also added four state-of-the-art ambulances to our fleet of 10 ambulances, including two 24/7 advanced life support vehicles and two basic life support vehicles, one of which will be available 24/7 and the other 16/7. In the process, we’ve strengthened our good relationships with Weymouth Fire and Weymouth Police.
We are now ready to meet our patients and families where they need us the most – in the community and close to home. After all, delivering integrated care directly to the communities we serve is the future of healthcare for better patient outcomes.
And that’s exactly what our community Health System is here to do.
Spring marks two incredible events on the South Shore Health System calendar. On May 21, more than 280 business leaders and supporters of South Shore Health System “teed-off” at Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth to help raise money for the second phase of South Shore Hospital’s critical care program.
Committee Chair and Presidents’ Circle member, Matthew Havens (Global Vision Advisors) and an extraordinary group of volunteers led the event. “This event always provides a great day of golf,” Matt said, “but it’s most important purpose is raising money that will help our families, friends and neighbors receive exceptional critical care, close to home and their loved ones.”
Through the combined effort of the Golf Committee, this year’s Golf Classic raised more than $275,000 – making it the successful golf tournament in South Shore Health System’s history. . We are so grateful to the many generous sponsors and players who contributed to this year’s event.
On June 14, South Shore Health System enjoyed a beautiful night at Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy to celebrate its annual Luminaria evening and pay tribute to exceptional individuals who have made an impact in Home Care in our community. This year the health system honored Bob & Donna Pineau and the South Shore VNA Parent Child Health Team.
Luminaria is a special dinner event designed to raise support for South Shore Health System’s Home and Community Care division and celebrate innovation and dedication by awarding “Home Care Champions” unique Luminaria medallions.
Both Bob and Donna are well known and highly respected leaders in our region. Bob is the President and CEO of Electro Switch, a company that has been a consistent and generous supporter and one of our longest standing Presidents’ Circle members. Bob serves on our System Board and is Chair of our Finance Committee. Donna has had a nursing career of over 40 years with a number of years serving in varied roles in home care. Donna truly understands the value of home care as the best environment contributing to the patient's healing and wellness.
Luminaria focuses on home care services, which play a vital role in lowering overall health care costs, minimizing complications, preventing multiple hospital stays for patients and improving the quality of life for the people of our region. “Providing care in the comfort and familiarity of one’s home for a variety of medical needs is why Luminaria, in support of home care, has become such an important event,” said Gene E. Green, MD, MBA, President and CEO, South Shore Health System. “We are excited to recognize Bob & Donna Pineau for all they continue to do for our community.”
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Mike McKenna, President & CEO spent some time with Full Circle to share insights on his organization.
Q1: What is one thing about Comprehensive Benefit Administrators that you would like your fellow Presidents' Circle members to know? We are a firm dedicated to providing excellent value and service. We do this by being in a constant state of never ending improvement. As a result, we are recognized as industry leaders in creatively reducing healthcare costs for employers of all sizes.
Q2. Why is supporting South Shore Health System so important to you and your company? Supporting South Shore Health System allows us to do our part to promote world-class healthcare services on the South Shore.
Q3. What is your belief in maintaining strong community values and how does that philosophy influence your business? Our business is an extension of who we are as people. We are not simply here to run a business. We strive to be an important part of the South Shore community by being an exemplary corporate citizen.
By Gene E. Green, MD, MBA, President and CEO of South Shore Health System
Somehow, we’ve created an environment here in the U.S. that’s more confusing than helpful when it comes to healthcare. It’s now almost close to impossible for the average person to understand what services they need and when, let alone where they should go, who they should see or how they’re going to pay for those services.
It shouldn’t be this difficult.
But that’s what happens when the business of healthcare gets in the way of the practice of healthcare. We have to make it easier for patients – living, breathing human beings – to get the care and support they need.
That’s why it’s such an exciting time for an independent community health system like South Shore. We have an incredible opportunity to decide what we’re going to do to meet the needs of the people in our own community. No one – and I mean no one – knows the residents of the South Shore like we do.
Our Health System is already taking steps to transform how we provide care for our community. This starts by rethinking how, when and where we care for our patients. We’re asking ourselves fundamental questions around each of these goals. It’s extremely important to us that the people in our community have access to the right resources, at the right times and in the right places.
Our recently announced partnership with Health Express, the local leader in urgent care centers, is just a small part of this transformation. With seven locations from Quincy to Plymouth, Health Express will allow our patients and their families to receive cost-effective treatment for non-life-threatening injuries and illnesses, conveniently and close to home. In addition, this partnership provides access to care at a lower cost than an emergency room visit and opens up more space in our ER for patients in need of critical care. Because we’ll operate as one under the Health System brand, we’ll also have the ability to share information more quickly and efficiently, leading to greater coordination of care and communication among health providers within our organization.
Another exciting step we’re taking to support our evolution from community hospital to community health system is to provide 911 emergency medical services to the Town of Weymouth. This partnership, which begins on July 1, will enable our Health System to continue to grow and deliver integrated care in meaningful ways that meet the growing needs of the communities we serve. It will also strengthen and support our working relationships with Weymouth Police and Weymouth Fire.
I’ve always been a firm believer that quality healthcare is built on trust and relationships. We must constantly grow and nurture those relationships to provide the best possible care for our patients and their families and support the charitable aim of our organization.
That’s why we’re so intent on establishing partnerships that move care out of the hospital setting and into the community. It’s our responsibility as a Health System to reimagine healthcare to be accessible and sensible for all involved.
This transformation will take time, of course. It will require our patients, physicians, nurses, staff, administrators, and insurance companies to transform with us. We continue to focus on finding ways to cross this transformation chasm together.
While I don’t have all the answers about where healthcare may be headed, I know that for us to be a true community health system we must meet our patients and families where they need us the most – in the community and close to home. And that’s exactly what we’re doing, one step at a time.