Thursday, March 14, 2013

Medical Mile Trail dedicated in Springfield

Officials from CoxHealth, Mercy and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board joined representatives from the Springfield Chamber of Commerce to dedicate the new Medical Mile Trail on Wednesday afternoon.

The 2.1-mile trail runs along National Avenue from the CoxHealth campus to the Mercy campus.

The Medical Mile trail has been five years in the making and now what began as an idea between a few friends has become an official path through Springfield. Its purpose: to get us all on the path to better health.

Local insurance agent Andrea Croley came up with the idea and spoke with Jodie Adams, who was then the director of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Croley wanted to designate the sidewalk along National as a visual reminder that we all need to get outside for fresh air and exercise, and felt that section was perfect, with health care providers at either end.

Adams agreed, and soon the City of Springfield, CoxHealth, Mercy and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board were all on board. The City agreed to make sidewalk improvements, and everyone worked on mapping the course and marking it with medallions. Now, runners and walkers will be able to scan the codes on the medallions to see the map and track how far they’ve traveled.

The Medical Mile Trail also connects to The Link, which is a series of trails that run through open space, greenways and parks.

“It would be my dream to see more trails run through Springfield,” explained Croley. “A network like this could make it possible for people to bike, walk or run to wherever they’re going."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Free legal advice for seniors

Area seniors can receive free legal advice from Zerrer Elder Law Office at the upcoming CoxHealth Senior Advantage Program “Legal Concerns for Seniors.” 

Professionals from the law office will discuss the difference between Durable Power of Attorney and guardianship/conservatorship, and when and why these items should be in place. 

This free event will be held Tuesday, March 26, from 1-3 p.m., in the Ozark Room at CoxHealth’s Meyer Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital, on the corner of National and Walnut Lawn, in Springfield. For more information or to register, please call 269-3616 or 1-888-354-3618.

Friday, March 8, 2013

CoxHealth receives donation from Disney to benefit hospitalized children

CoxHealth’s Child Life specialists spend their days easing the anxiety of hospitalized children and their families. These professionals are charged with promoting the emotional well-being of our youngest patients, helping them deal with separation from their loved ones, easing their fears, and helping children and families understand the tests and procedures a child might face.

Their rewarding work is made successful in part by the use of toys, stuffed animals, video games, DVDs and more that help children relax and bring a sense of normalcy to their hospital stay. Recently, CoxHealth received a large donation of these items from the Disney Hospital Care Package Program. Each year, Disney provides care packages to more than 600 children’s hospitals around the world. In addition to traditional Disney toys and movies, this year’s package also included health-themed items based on the Disney series “Doc McStuffins.” Child Life distributes many of the items as “rewards” to children following tests and procedures.

To learn more about the CoxHealth Child Life program, click here.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

CoxHealth selected as a participant awardee in CMS Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative

CoxHealth has been selected as a participant awardee in Phase 1 of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Bundled Payments for Improvement initiative. The initiative changes the way participants are paid for the services they provide, bundling payments to encourage health providers to work together to improve quality while reducing costs.

The initiative includes four models of bundling payments, varying by the types of health care providers involved and the services included in the bundle. CoxHealth is participating in Model 2. Depending on the model type, CMS will bundle payments for services beneficiaries receive during an episode of care, encouraging hospitals, physicians, post-acute facilities, and other providers to work together to improve health outcomes and lower costs. Organizations of providers participating in the initiative agree to provide CMS a discount from expected payments for the episode of care, and then the provider partners work together to reduce readmissions, duplicative care and complications to lower costs through improvement.

“We are excited to be participating in opportunities to deliver high quality, efficient healthcare to Medicare beneficiaries in our community,” said Jeffrey Bond, president and CEO of Cox HealthPlans.

In Phase 1 (January-July 2013), more than 100 participants partnering with more than 400 provider organizations, will receive new data from CMS on care patterns and engage in shared learning in how to improve care. Phase 1 participants are generally expected to become participants in Phase 2, in which approved participants opt to take on financial risk for episodes of care starting in July 2013, pending contract finalization and completion of CMS' standard program integrity reviews.

"The objective of this initiative is to improve the quality of health care delivery for Medicare beneficiaries, while reducing program expenditures, by aligning the financial incentives of all providers," said acting administrator Marilyn Tavenner. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

CEO: Medicaid expansion is vital to our mission

This map, courtesy of the Advisory Board Company, is based on comments made by each state’s governor. While Missouri governor Jay Nixon has announced his support of Medicaid expansion, the final decision rests with the Missouri General Assembly.

From Steve Edwards, CoxHealth's President and CEO: 

Missouri faces a dilemma. When the Affordable Care Act was passed it included what was, essentially, a trade. Hospitals across the country were required to accept drastic cuts to the reimbursements they receive for caring for patients with Medicare and Medicaid, with the understanding that Medicaid would be expanded. Not only would this provide more people with health coverage, it would help hospitals recover from the reduction in reimbursements, ensuring they could continue to provide the quality care we all rely on.

These cuts will amount to $4 billion for Missouri hospitals alone by 2019. For CoxHealth, it means an annual loss of $45-50 million once the ACA is fully implemented. That’s $45-50 million a year that could be invested in technology and facilities, in jobs, and in ensuring the neediest in our communities get reliable access to the health care everyone deserves.

If Missouri does not increase coverage as the law originally intended, hospitals will be faced with choices that will negatively impact their ability to serve the community, and many small, rural hospitals, already operating on razor-thin margins, may find it extremely difficult to keep their doors open. The $4 billion in cuts that Missouri’s hospitals will be forced to absorb will be handed to states like California, Massachusetts and Arizona that have expanded or will soon vote to expand coverage, leaving Missouri’s hospitals to pay for care in other states while Missourians struggle to adjust to the ACA without any of the intended relief.

Currently Missouri’s Medicaid program offers expanded coverage for children but extremely limited coverage for adults. In fact, a family of four must have an annual income of less than $4,104 a year for the parents to maintain coverage.

People working hard each day earning wages at or slightly above minimum wage are challenged to afford the cost of health insurance, which can easily exceed 25 percent of their gross pay. It is simple math that prohibits an individual working full time at $10 an hour from purchasing insurance. 

Expansion would allow Medicaid to fulfill its true purpose, acting as a bridge to health care for the working poor. It would allow these families access to quality, preventive health care services, and allow hospitals to continue to invest in technology, infrastructure and staffing for the good of us all.
Missourians deserve our help. Expanding access to affordable care improves the quality of care to all while helping those who have the greatest need.

Our mission is to improve the health of the communities we serve, and we live this mission broadly. To us, it means not only running hospitals, physician clinics, an ambulance service and more – it means doing all we can, every day, to ensure the health and well-being of our friends and neighbors. 

We believe in Medicaid expansion not only because it will help our health system serve those who need us, but because it will help those who need help the most.

If you are interested in contacting lawmakers from our area, please refer to the information below.

Senator Bob Dixon 
District 30, serving parts of Greene County
Phone: 573-751-2583

Senator Jay Wasson 
District 20, Christian and parts of Greene County
Phone: 573-751-1503

Senator David Sater 
District 29, Barry, Lawrence, McDonald, Stone and Taney
Phone: 573-751-1480

Senator Ron Richard 
District 32, Dade, Jasper, Newton
Phone: 573-751-2173

Senator Mike Cunningham 
District 33, Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas, Webster and Wright
Phone: 573-751-1882

Senator Mike Parson 
District 28, Benton, Cedar, Dallas, Hickory, Laclede, Pettis, Polk and St. Clair
Phone: 573-751-8793