(Posted June 19, 2014)
By John Crutchfield, Staff Writer
Health care is a challenging business to be in these days with ever tightening standards of care, shrinking reimbursements and the complexity of the Affordable Care Act. Health care providers in Madison County recently took a step toward making it simpler for providers and those seeking medical care. That step was the formation of the Madison County Health Care Provider Association (MCHCPA).
Tiffany Lee of Loving Care Hospice is spearheading the effort in conjunction with with the Madison County Chamber of Commerce. Two years ago, Lee helped to start a similar group in Union County. The inaugural meeting of the Madison County association was held June 5.
“I want to see the health care providers come together to provide better care for local residents,” Lee said. “We need to find the gaps in the services available and help providers put names and faces to (other) community providers.”
Individual providers may not know what services other providers in the county offer. As a result, patients are sometimes referred to services out-of-county because local resources have not been identified. This weakens the businesses of Madison County and inconveniences local residents, Lee said.
Patients can get “lost” during transitions of care. A person may be well enough to leave the hospital, for example, but not well enough to resume fully independent living. Healthcare providers, including local physicians, need to know to whom they can refer their patients for local follow-up care.
Lee said she was glad to see at least a couple of physician offices represented at the association’s first meeting.
Members talked about a variety of challenges their individual businesses face. Among them: reaching under-served residents, the need for sports medicine and rehab in the area, transformational health care, elder abuse and the nuances of the Affordable Care Act.
The association’s four major initiatives are: raising public awareness, promoting and protecting healthcare business in Madison County, promoting services and educating health care providers. Two well received public events in Union County included a panel discussion presenting case studies on transitional care and a dinner to inform the public about available services. The Madison County group hopes to hold similar awareness events.
Membership in the association is open to all businesses involved in health care in the county and members of the Chamber.
Nicole Delsanter, assistant executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, said Lee came to her with the idea of forming an association in Madison County.
“We have had a lot of success with the human resources forum, so this sounded like a great idea. We are committed to working with Tiffany to make this a success,” she said.
Health care providers interested in participating in MCHCPA can call the Madison County Chamber of Commerce at (740) 852-2250 or Tiffany Lee of Loving Care Hospice at (740) 852-7755.