FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lynn Sadoff
HealthEast Care System
Strategic initiative recognized for commitment to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care
St. Paul, MN – February 23, 2010 – HealthEast Care System has been selected by the Disparities Leadership Program as a recipient of an achievement in innovation award for its system wide, strategic initiative to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care. HealthEast is one of only three teams from 12 United States health care organizations to receive this award during 2009-2010. It is based on various criteria, including the organization's progress, creativity, and overall quality of work throughout the past year and the team’s in-person presentation.
The award was accepted on behalf of HealthEast Care System by Craig Svendsen, MD, Chief Medical Quality Officer and Elizabeth Walker Anderson, JD, System Director, Cross Cultural Services. HealthEast was the only Minnesota health care organization chosen to participate in this year’s program.
The goal of the Disparities Leadership Program is to create a cadre of health care leaders who have:
- in-depth knowledge of the research and causes of health care disparities;
- cutting-edge, quality improvement strategies and skills to address disparities; and
- leadership skills to implement solutions to help transform their organizations.
Svendsen noted that over the past three years, HealthEast has laid a strong foundation for culturally-responsive strategies which fit with the internationally recognized Institute of Medicine’s Six Aims for moving health care into the future. “Equity is a key component of quality; our quality institute’s mission is to provide competent, compassionate, evidence-based care that is equitable.”
Anderson shared the success of HealthEast’s call to action for equitable care, ranging from growing interpreter services to strengthening community relationships. “Addressing racial and ethnic disparities benefits patients, families, and employees alike. As we provide the highest level of care based on unique needs and perspectives, we build strong relationships. These relationships, in turn, create an environment that is respectful and productive, leading to a more engaged employee workforce.”
Executive leadership was provided by Dr. Svendsen and Ginny Sullivan, Vice President, Human Resources, HealthEast. Project sponsors included Elizabeth Walker Anderson, Yvette Nierenhausen-Swanson, and Marlene Johnson; project leaders included Franchella Holland and Rhonda Arnold; and project team members included Lisa Allison, Cathy Einberger, Kelly Person, Laurie Tubbesing, Kari Nybakke, Stephanie Harr, Lynn Sadoff, and Sara Mathew.
The Disparities Leadership Program, led by the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, is the first program of its kind in the nation. It is designed to assist leaders from hospitals, health insurance plans, and other health care organizations in developing practical strategies to deliver across-the-board equitable care. The Disparities Leadership Program is jointly sponsored by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), and supported by Joint Commission Resources (JCR), an affiliate of the Joint Commission.
HealthEast Care System is a community-focused, non-profit health care organization that provides innovative technology, compassionate care and a full spectrum of family health services. HealthEast includes Bethesda Hospital, St. John’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Woodwinds Health Campus as well as outpatient services, clinics, home care, pharmacies and medical transportation services.
Practicing financial responsibility, HealthEast is the largest, locally-owned health care organization in the Twin Cities’ East Metro with 7,300 employees, 1,200 volunteers and 1,500 physicians on staff.