Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, Sarasota County Health Department and Senior Friendship Centers collaboration innovates system of care for Sarasota County’s uninsured and underinsured
SARASOTA, Fla. (Dec. 11, 2012) – A yearlong collaboration among leaders from Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, Sarasota County Health Department and Senior Friendship Centers – with support from The Patterson Foundation – to improve the system of care for Sarasota County’s uninsured and underinsured individuals has yielded significant progress, including building technology infrastructure that will aid in health information sharing among the providers and standardized eligibility requirements for patients.
Collectively, the organizations provide medical care for the majority of Sarasota County’s uninsured and underinsured people. While the leaders of these organizations have been meeting informally for several years, The Patterson Foundation’s support helped them more formally organize in October 2011 with facilitation support from a project consultant. During the facilitation process, executive leaders from these organizations and key staff members formed workgroups to identify ways to improve the system of care for uninsured and underinsured individuals.
“Our community is evolving and changing every day, and our health care delivery system needs to change with it,” said Gwen MacKenzie, president and CEO of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System. “This collaborative effort with our community partners has been a critical step in strengthening the safety net resources in Sarasota County and protecting the health of our most vulnerable patients.”
One result of the collaboration is that a health information technology platform will be installed at Senior Friendship Centers. The technology platform improvements at Senior Friendship Centers will be interoperable with technology at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and the Sarasota County Health Department and will aid in sharing health information.
“Our community has been fortunate to have such key providers working together for decades, with a remarkable history of coordination and care,” said Bob Carter, president and CEO of Senior Friendship Centers. “These technology improvements will now take these collaborative efforts to new levels of efficiency and effectiveness.”
The group anticipates the platform will be fully operational at Senior Friendship Centers during early 2013.
The collaboration also enabled Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, Sarasota County Health Department and Senior Friendship Centers to develop standardized eligibility requirements, which may help reduce wait times for patients. The eligibility process should be simple for patients and connected across the system of care. Common or shared forms will help streamline the eligibility portion of the system of care.
While the collaboration leaders are encouraged by the incremental progress, the group is quick to say their work is not yet done. They will reconvene in early 2013 to continue working together.
“Our ability and willingness to continue this collaboration will help our community avoid unnecessary duplication of services, lower the cost of providing care and help strengthen and expand our existing safety net system of care,” said Charles Henry, director of Sarasota County Health and Human Services.
About The Patterson Foundation
The Patterson Foundation believes that through communications, technology, and financial innovations, improvements may be achieved that transcend any single issue, entity, or geographic area. The Foundation provides resources to facilitate, expedite, and share methods, techniques, and tools, joining with others in creating new realities. For more information, please visit www.ThePattersonFoundation.org.