Centra presents update

Published 11:51 am Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A commitment to building a sustainable team, updates on the recent regional health needs assessment and a $1.5 million grant were among some of the news Centra Health Interim CEO Michael Elliott addressed during a luncheon the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce hosted Monday.
Elliott spoke about the goals of the health organization over the nearly six months since former CEO E.W. Tibbs unexpectedly resigned from Centra Health at the end of September 2018.

Elliott said the top priorities for the health system are to make sure that employees are taken care of so that they in turn can provide the best care to patients.
“We have had a renewed sense of making sure that we take care of our people,” Elliott said.

Elliott said Centra Southside Community Hospital (CSCH) in Farmville and Centra Health recently received good news.

CSCH participated in a ranking system by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which measures the quality of hospitals on a scale from 1 to 5 stars based on seven factors, which include mortality, safety of care, re-admission, patient experience, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care and efficient use of medical imaging.

Elliott said CSCH was one of 293 hospitals in the country to receive five stars from the CMS this year.

He said Centra Health also recently acquired a $1.5-million grant from federal funding to support programs that address the opioid crisis. One program based in Lynchburg that is expanding to the Farmville region includes a program for pregnant people who have opioid addiction.

The pregnant clients live at the facility and receive support from the facility before and after giving birth. Elliott said the funding allows for the program to take 150 clients rather than the approximately 50 clients it serves currently.

In response to a question from Chamber member and Farmville Area Habitat for Humanity representative Alanna Rivera about ways Centra is addressing mental health needs, particularly after hours. Elliott and CSCH CEO Tom Angelo said that Centra Health works in Richmond to make sure Centra receives funding at the state level. Elliott acknowledged that more could be done for mental health care services in the region.

Angelo said the hospital recently hired a mental health social worker, and receives assistance from representatives in Lynchburg. Angelo said the hospital is also considering a mental health social worker to serve at the hospital after-hours. Angelo said CSCH emergency room can currently see between five to seven patients with mental health needs daily, as opposed to one to three patients before.

“It is top of mind, and it is a problem,” Angelo said.

During the luncheon, Elliott spoke about the recent Centra Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), which outlined the top health-related priorities for the Farmville region. At the CHNA implementation plan meeting Feb. 26, community organizers and stakeholders chose five main priorities, the most priorities compared with Centra’s Lynchburg and Bedford regions.

The five priorities chosen by the Farmville region included access to affordable health care; access to mental health services, which include resources for substance use; access to affordable housing; transportation and access to healthy foods.

The assessments, Elliott said, developed as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which required that health organizations generate assessments to determine which health needs required the most focus.

Elliott said the region is experiencing challenges relating to health and life expectancy. On a scale of Virginia counties, with 1 being the top ranking and 133 being the bottom rank, Amelia County ranks 48 as the top-rated county in the seven-county region for health outcomes, or mortality, and Buckingham County ranks 114 in health factors risks, or factors that influence the health of a county.

“Have we prepared ourselves for the opportunity to make sure that the seven municipalities here become numbers one through seven on that state ranking list,” Elliott said. “Can we come together as a community and say, ‘we are going to be dogged about making sure life expectancy and quality of life in these seven municipalities is the absolute best anywhere in the state of Virginia.’”

“Will you join me?” Elliott said.