Delaware Systems Create Statewide Alliance

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Four hospital systems in Delaware have formed a statewide strategic partnership to increase access to health care services, improve the quality and affordability of care and offer all Delawareans an even brighter health care future through collaboration and innovation, according to a press release from Christiana Care.

Named eBrightHealth, the partnership is a first-of-its-kind alliance of four health systems (consisting of six total hospitals) in the First State that serve more than 935,000 Delawareans. Participants are:

  • Bayhealth
  • Beebe Healthcare
  • Christiana Care Health System
  • Nanticoke Health Services

The alliance builds on the foundation and strengths of the statewide Quality Partners Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Medicare Shared Saving Program begun in January 2016. The ACO comprises the eBrightHealth hospitals and more than 200 primary care providers throughout the state who are employed by the hospitals or are in community-based practices. While the ACO is focused on Medicare populations, eBrightHealth will allows the health systems to apply the same care transformation strategies across other populations, the press release notes.

Named for Ebright Road, the highest geographic point in the state, eBrightHealth strives to achieve the pinnacle of health for Delawareans by sharing best practices and innovations to raise the quality of care. By sharing population health strategies such as clinical pathways, the partner systems can reduce unnecessary variation in care, which heightens the quality and patient experience of care while reducing the cost of care.

For one example, last year Christiana Care introduced a clinical pathway for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) using evidence-based best practices. In six months, a key quality indicator — readmission to the hospital within 30 days of discharge — dropped significantly from 28 percent to 18 percent. Sharing the COPD clinical pathway through the eBrightHealth partnership could amount to meaningful improvements in healthcare statewide.

“Quite simply, eBrightHealth is the future of health care,” said Terry Murphy, FACHE, president and CEO of Bayhealth. “The alliance will result in four cutting-edge health systems working together to identify and create strategies to provide the highest quality care to all Delawareans.”

The alliance supports the objectives of the state plan to improve the health of Delawareans, enhance healthcare quality and patient experience, and reduce health care costs.

Among the innovations eBrightHealth will initially focus on are the following:

  • Employee health plan care coordination for the partner systems.
  • Clinical initiatives that create transformation in care delivery, such as reducing unnecessary use of the emergency department, improving primary care office workflow and implementing programs supporting end-of-life concerns.
  • Laboratory and imaging services that focus on opportunities implementing recommendations from the national Choosing Wisely campaign to avoid wasteful or unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures that will promote better care and higher efficiencies.
  • Information technology enhancements focusing on health information exchanges.
  • Group purchasing arrangements to share risks and lower costs.

Under the alliance, each of the health systems in the eBrightHealth partnership maintains its operating independence and all services.

“This coalition represents a new chapter that will propel us to further our efforts to transform health care delivery and achieve even greater efficiencies throughout the state,” said Jeffrey M. Fried, FACHE president and CEO of Beebe Healthcare.

Addressing population health is a chief goal of eBrightHealth that will facilitate care coordination for Delawareans with specific diseases.

“By joining together in this innovative partnership, we will enable Delaware to take its next big step into population health and create value for our community in ways that are meaningful to Delawareans,” said Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, president and CEO of Christiana Care Health System.

Population health efforts at the four partner health systems will continue to focus on improving health outcomes of groups of individuals with chronic conditions that present higher levels of health risk and health costs, such as those with COPD, diabetes, asthma or heart failure. Collaboration among participating health systems can further integrate and coordinate the care delivery system with community health services and public health, implement health promotion and disease prevention programs and address health disparities so all Delawareans can lead a healthy life.

“We’ll be working together on several initiatives to offer a more patient-centered, value-oriented, technology-driven and simpler model of care that builds on many of our strengths and ongoing innovations,” said Steven A. Rose, RN, MN, president and CEO of Nanticoke Health Services.

Governance of eBrightHealth consists of a Board of Managers that includes the board chair and CEO from each participating system. The eBrightHealth chair and CEO will be a rotating position starting with Steven Rose of Nanticoke. Other governance structures are Executive and Development Committees to review and identify initiatives.

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