Grady Part of Task Force Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities

The American Hospital Association (AHA) today unveiled a report outlining a menu of options for communities, hospitals and policymakers to ensure that vulnerable rural and urban communities have access to essential health care services. As the hospital field engages in its most significant transformation to date, one out of three hospitals is fighting to survive – potentially putting communities at risk for losing their access to local health care services. Grady Health System was enlisted by the AHA to serve on the task force that developed today’s report. 

“As one of the nation’s leading safety net providers, Grady has always been committed to ensuring access to care for all. As a member of the AHA Task Force, Grady supports these efforts to enhance access and bolster the stability of the many hospitals in our state and country who face uncertain futures,” said John Haupert, President and CEO, Grady Health System.

In recognition of the challenges facing vulnerable rural and urban communities and the need for new integrated and comprehensive health care delivery and payment strategies, the AHA Board of Trustees created the Task Force for Ensuring Access to Vulnerable Communities. Comprised of 29 hospital and health system leaders and state hospital association CEOs, the task force held meetings, heard from policymakers and conducted field hearings to speak with hospital and community leaders during a 15-month period.

“Many hospitals face challenges maintaining access to health care services in their communities and this report provides a pathway to ensure every hospital has an opportunity to be an access point and an anchor of service,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “The strategies outlined in this report can serve as a roadmap for all communities as hospitals begin to redefine how they provide more integrated care.”

The taskforce report outlines nine emerging strategies that can help preserve access to health care services in vulnerable communities. These strategies will not apply to or work for every community and each community has the option to choose one or more that are compatible with its needs.

The nine emerging strategies are:

  • Addressing the Social Determinants of Health
  • Global budgets
  • Inpatient/Outpatient Transformation Strategy
  • Emergency Medical Center
  • Urgent Care Center
  • Virtual Care Strategies
  • Frontier Health System
  • Rural Hospital-Health Clinic Strategy
  • Indian Health Services Strategies

The AHA will work with Congress and CMS to create new payment models to support the successful implementation of the strategies. The AHA will also provide assistance and tools to communities and hospitals and health systems looking to adopt the task force-recommended strategies.

The report, with more detailed information on each strategy, case studies and a complete advocacy agenda and assistance strategy, is available at www.aha.org