FAH Hospital Policy Blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America's hospitals and the patients we serve.

Hospital Integration | COVID-19 | FAH Policy Blog Team

FAH Leader on Staying Connected During and Past the Pandemic

As part of its 45th anniversary celebration, Modern Healthcare asked FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn to write a column focusing on how collaborations and partnerships can help the hospital industry thrive.

His piece entitled “Staying connected during and past the pandemic” focuses on how hospitals, connected as integrated systems, were able to respond to the challenges presented by the pandemic quickly and successfully – changing the course of treatment and saving lives.

“In a matter of weeks, our hospital systems re-programmed themselves— going from “just in time” supply to preparing for all contingencies,” Kahn wrote. “They used their size, scale, and geographic reach to adapt to constant challenges, whether it was dealing with shortages of personal protective equipment or rapidly changing treatment protocols. Across the care continuum, integrated facilities teamed up—regionally and nationally—to share needed equipment, staff, and supplies to make sure front-line caregivers could treat the waves of patients.” 

He highlighted the public-private online initiative started by the Trump Administration to send ventilators to COVID-19 hotspots, “Large health systems, such as LifePoint Health, HCA Healthcare, and Cleveland Clinic volunteered to loan lifesaving equipment to facilities in need—and it worked!”

The column also mentions St. Francis Medical Center in Los Angeles County, which was purchased by Prime Healthcare during the pandemic. When cases in that community surged, Prime was able to use its integrated network to get frontline workers the supplies they needed to treat patients.

Kahn also put the spotlight on how hospitals are using data to fight COVID-19 writing that systems were able to use “size and scale to swiftly disseminate findings to practitioners on the front lines—helping improve patient outcomes in a matter of days, not the usual timeline of months or even years.”

In addition, he focuses on how FAH member companies, like HCA Healthcare and Tenet Healthcare, are forming partnerships with other organizations to harvest even more lifesaving information from their data—something that will have an impact on care delivery during the rest of this pandemic and far beyond.

“CHARGE, a consortium of prominent public and private research institutions will use HCA’s vast data on COVID-19 hospital care to improve patient outcomes and public knowledge. Its collaborative includes institutions like Johns Hopkins University and Meharry Medical College, as well as Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.”

“Tenet Healthcare, CommonSpirit Health, MedStar Health, and Northwell Health joined others that founded Truveta, which uses de-identified patient data with the goal of finding cures faster”

Kahn concludes by writing, “The COVID crisis certainly isn’t over, but the past 18 months proved the resilience and positive impact of sustained investments in systemization in communities across the country. The efforts outlined above are only scratching the surface of what is possible.”

You can find the complete column here.