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    Silent Guardians of Marginalized Communities

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    In America's urban sprawl, quiet but determined forces are at work to protect the health and well-being of marginalized communities. Hospital-based health systems are often the only beacon of health care for low-income populations and play an essential role in these areas. Leonard L. Berry, Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M University and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, highlights its critical functions in his insightful work on healthcare management and services. .

    The unsung heroes

    A case in point is Michigan, where hospital-based health systems invested a staggering $784 million in community-based volunteerism during fiscal year 2021. This not only provided necessary medical care, but also created employment opportunities, employing approximately 568,000 people. Michigan residents directly employed by these health systems in 2021.

    One such system is HCA Florida Orange Park Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. Committed to providing quality care and personalized service, the hospital offers a myriad of services including emergency medicine, cardiology, and interventional cardiology. We operate three emergency rooms, two of which are freestanding facilities, and boast a multidisciplinary team of physicians and nurses skilled in critical care.

    The company's cardiology program is equally impressive, offering comprehensive cardiac care and services, along with rehabilitation services for patients recovering from cardiac events or surgeries.

    Addressing staffing challenges

    These hospital-based health systems recognize the pressing issue of staffing shortages and are proactively implementing safe nurse staffing models to ensure quality care for their patients and communities. It is working. This approach not only increases patient safety, but also improves working conditions for healthcare workers, thereby attracting and retaining skilled talent.

    LifeLine: An urban lifesaver

    Indiana University Health (IU Health) LifeLine is another typical hospital-based health system making great strides in urban areas. IU Health LifeLine, a critical care transport provider, operates six critical care stations across Indiana with five helicopters, six mobile intensive care units and 20 ambulances.

    Since its inception in 1979, the program has transported more than 140,000 patients, traveling more than 1 million miles by land and 250,000 miles by air annually. The team is comprised of highly certified crew members trained to treat complex patients. In line with our commitment to patient-centered care, IU Health LifeLine offers teams customized based on patient needs, including high-risk obstetric nurses and neonatal nurse practitioners.

    As a hospital-based, nonprofit program, IU Health LifeLine operates on principles of trust and transparency, ensuring patients are never surprised or charged for their balance.

    The absence of these hospital-based health systems would leave large gaps in urban areas, especially for low-income patients who rely on hospitals for essential medical care. Investments in community-based activities, employment opportunities and the development of future health workers emphasize their essential role in society.

    As Leonard L. Berry aptly puts it, “In the health care industry, the true measure of success is not in the money you make, but in the lives you touch and make better.” These hospitals The efforts of our home-based health system are evidence of this belief and serve as a reminder of the transformative power of compassionate and accessible health care.

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