We'll soon be saying goodbye to 2013, reflecting on the past year and planning ahead for 2014 and beyond.
As a primary health care resource for western Nebraska, southern South Dakota and northern Kansas, Great Plains Regional Medical Center has been planning for the historical health care changes in 2014 for the last five years.
While headline news has debated the pros and cons of the Affordable Care Act which goes into effect in January, local community hospitals such as Great Plains have made adjustments to conform to countless new government regulations while seamlessly serving their communities.
Despite the recent federal government shutdown, local community hospitals have worked around government complexities without shutting their doors, doing what they do every day – caring for patients and families.
Greg Nielsen is the chief executive officer of Great Plains Regional Medical Center. He also serves as secretary on the executive board of the Nebraska Hospital Association. You can email him at Nielsegn@gprmc.com.
In 2014, Great Plains Regional Medical Center will be actively writing the playbook for change in Nebraska– change that extends beyond our hospital walls. These changes are about you, not government mandates. We want to see our community off the sidelines and actively engaged in their own health care.
Great Plains has the opportunity to redefine health care by transforming from a focus on sick care to health care. Our goal is to help you engage in your own health and stay out of the hospital. We're developing plans to help our community stay healthy and improve lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise. We want to influence care and well-being across the full continuum of pre-acute, acute and post-acute care.
Yes, we're still monitoring what's going on in Washington and Lincoln, but we're interested in reforming the system locally, with employers, payers, and patients. By improving the health of individuals, we can drive down costs. We have the right strategy in place no matter what happens in Washington.
While still very successful in the current health care environment, Great Plains is making significant investments to redesign our system for success that will exist as health care reform plays out in the next decade or more.
This concept of “longevity and well-being” and caring for caregivers was recently shared at the 86th annual convention for the Nebraska Hospital Association meeting. Great Plains is ahead of the curve in changing the system. We're also partnering with Community Hospital Corporation which offers strategic management and consultant support and keeps us in tune with hospitals across the country.
One of our innovative approaches to get off the sidelines was implemented in 2013. We started the Great Plains Couch to 5K initiative to promote wellness and personal ownership of health among our employees. We partnered with our local recreation center to provide personal training and had nearly 100 employees participant.
The team met once a week (participants could choose either Tuesday morning or Thursday night) and ran independently following the programs distance and time for the rest of the 8-week training program. For our final race goal, we ran the Platte River Fitness Series Running to Cure Breast Cancer 5K on Labor Day weekend.
The Great Plains Couch to 5K program was the first step in a larger initiative called GP Fit, intended to ignite a health and wellness culture shift among our employees and ultimately our community.
Since the Couch to 5K, we have started a weekly running/walking club, called the Get Moving Club, made up of employees and their families. This group meets every Sunday, bringing out around 40 people who run and walk together and enjoy health education tips and support. In the spring, we plan to host another Couch to 5K series, this time opening it up to the entire community.
In May, we will sponsor Color Dash as a way to encourage fun and fitness among families. Our other plans include creating a more healthy hospital cafeteria environment with healthier food options at lower cost than non-healthy options. We are also exploring the option of starting a Great Plains biking club and a swimming club.
At Great Plains, we're making great strides to expand our focus from acute care to prevention, well-being, managing chronic disease and post-acute care. We still have much work to do and invite our community to collaborate with us to achieve this mission.