Three Genesee County Hospitals Announce a Joint Health Information Exchange Strategy with Michigan Health Connect

Exciting things are happening in Michigan, where a broad, regional health information exchange, or HIE, has been steadily evolving.

As many will recall, in 2007 the State of Michigan had provided multiple planning grants to explore the development of regional HIEs throughout Michigan. The counties of Genesee, Lapeer, and Shiawassee were designated as one of nine regions, also known as medical trading areas. Since that time, regional leaders from Genesys Health System, Hurley Medical Center, McLaren Regional Medical Center, Lapeer Regional Medical Center, and Memorial Healthcare have come together via the Greater Flint Health Coalition to investigate the best local strategies to establish HIE. While a lengthy process of planning and evaluation has transpired in the midst of an ever-changing landscape related to federal requirements for health information technology, electronic medical records, and meaningful use, the three Genesee County hospitals and the Greater Flint Health Coalition are pleased to announce a shared regional Health Information Exchange strategy in partnership with Michigan Health Connect.

Michigan Health Connect (MHC) seeks to advance the delivery of patient-focused health care by collaboratively leveraging information technology and clinical data exchange. It also encourages the adoption of EMR systems across the community and facilitates their meaningful use. MHC is led by a collaborative of 8 prominent health systems and currently consists of 47 hospital facilities whose service area spans over 80% of the counties in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. To date, MHC has deployed results delivery, laboratory and radiology ordering, and EMR interfaces to hundreds of physician practices statewide, including technology to enable referrals between practices.

Utilizing Medicity’s full HIE infrastructure, MHC will eventually have the ability to aggregate and match patient data to create longitudinal patient records while enabling participating health systems and their physician partners to maintain ownership of their own data. Via its growing clinical messaging platform, MHC has over 640 physician offices connected to receive results. These include EMR offices as well as paper-based offices whose results are placed into an electronic “drop-box”, replacing inefficient fax delivery.

In 2012 and beyond, each Genesee County hospital will begin implementation of Michigan Health Connect. For the full details of this announcement, please click on the following link Joint Announcement from Genesys Health System, McLaren Health Care & Hurley Medical Center.

Greater Flint Health Coalition selected by Michigan Department of Community Health to implement Michigan’s “Health & Wellness 4×4 Plan” to Combat Obesity

To address the growing obesity epidemic in Michigan, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) released the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan in June 2012. In taking one of the first steps outlined by the Plan, MDCH has announced that six coalitions have been selected to implement this initiative across the state. The Greater Flint Health Coalition (GFHC) has been selected as one of these model coalitions to implement the 4 x 4 Plan in Genesee County/Flint.

“These grants will assist community coalitions in implementing strategies that impact weight status, proper nutrition, physical activity and ultimately the success of our communities,” said James K. Haveman, Director of the MDCH. “I commend these coalitions for their dedication to this effort and look forward to watching their progress as we work together to reduce obesity in Michigan.”

Through a collaborative effort and local partnerships, the 4 x 4 Plan outlines the strategy to deploy local coalitions to implement the plan in their communities. The focus of the coalitions is to improve health by creating healthier communities, expand prevention activities and empower people to make healthy choices and ultimately adopt health as a core personal value.

The GFHC, its member organizations, and a collective of community-based partners will promote the 4 x 4 Plan to residents via an expansion of the ongoing Commit to Fit! campaign, while GFHC partner the Genesee County Medical Society will serve a major role activating local medical providers to engage patients in better understanding and practicing the 4 x 4 Plan’s health behaviors and measures.

“Obesity and its related health conditions can often be the cause of unhealthy behaviors we can all change by eating healthier foods and proper portions, being physically active at least 30 to 60 minutes per day, and by avoiding tobacco use,” said Kirk Smith, President & CEO, Greater Flint Health Coalition. “By continuing to engage our residents to live healthier via the Commit to Fit! campaign in cooperation with the state’s 4 x 4 Plan, our residents can begin to see improvements in their personal health.”

To get started with Commit to Fit!, Genesee County/Flint residents can visit http://www.commit-2-fit.org today and sign up at no cost. For more information about the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan, the 4 x 4 tool, and more related resources, visit http://www.michigan.gov/healthymichigan.

Project Healthy Schools launched in Genesee County to fight rising childhood obesity

With support from Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation, Greater Flint Health Coalition partners with University of Michigan to bring Project Healthy Schools to Grand Blanc Middle Schools.

Grand Blanc, Mich. – In Michigan more than 30 percent of youth ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese. With support from the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation the Greater Flint Health Coalition, and the University of Michigan Health System are taking aim at children’s unhealthy habits by expanding the Project Healthy Schools wellness program to Grand Blanc Middle Schools.

Grand Blanc Middle School students will learn heart-healthy habits to help reduce their future risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“Children who are obese are much more likely to become obese adults,” says Kim Eagle, M.D., a cardiologist and a director of the U-M Cardiovascular Center. “And we know that obese adults are much more likely to have a whole variety of problems, which can include high cholesterol, premature cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure and sudden cardiac arrest.”

“We don’t have to be an obese nation,” adds Eagle, who founded Project Healthy Schools in 2004. “We can change our culture to be healthier and we can start that in schools.”

While Project Healthy Schools targets sixth-graders through direct classroom instruction, the entire student body benefits. In this new partnership with the Greater Flint Health Coalition, elements of the Coalition’s existing Commit to Fit! campaign will be incorporated in Project Healthy School’s lessons as part of a county-wide campaign to improve Genesee County’s health behaviors.

“In Genesee County / Flint, our community has long experienced challenges with the practice of poor health behaviors relative to physical activity, nutrition, and smoking. In this new partnership with Project Healthy Schools and Commit to Fit!, we will seek to build the practice of lifelong healthy behaviors into our community’s youth,” says Kirk Smith, president & chief executive officer of the Greater Flint Health Coalition.

The program includes collaboration with the cafeteria, communication with parents and staff, development of a school wellness team, measurement of program success, and organization of a fun year-end activity to celebrate the program.

Students celebrate health through school-wide assemblies and other programs that each school may develop such as walking clubs, field days and planting a school garden. Grand Blanc students will have a pep rally and fund-raiser on Sept. 28 to kick-off what is expected to be a healthy school year.

The University of Michigan’s Project Healthy Schools’ teaches and inspires students to incorporate five simple goals into their daily lives:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Make better beverage choices
  • Perform at least 150 minutes of exercise each week
  • Eat less fast and fatty foods
  • Spend less time in front of a screen

More than 13,000 Michigan middle school students and their teachers have participated in Project Healthy Schools, which is one of the few programs of its kind in the nation to demonstrate significant benefits among participants, including reductions in cholesterol and high blood pressure.

The collaborative effort by the U-M includes various foundations, community organizations, health care providers and public schools.

In partnership with the Greater Flint Health Coalition, Genesys Health System will mentor programs at Grand Blanc schools, just as Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak and Memorial Healthcare in Owosso use the Project Healthy Schools model to help children in their communities.

On the Web:

University of Michigan Project Healthy Schools – http://www.projecthealthyschools.org/

Greater Flint Health Coalition – http://www.gfhc.org/

Commit to Fit – http://www.commit-2-fit.org

Grand Blanc Community Schools – http://grandblanc.schoolfusion.us/

GFHC’s Group Visit Project Welcomes National Group Visit Expert Dr. Edward Shahady to Flint November 1st

On November 1, 2012, the GFHC’s Group Visit Project is hosting two events featuring keynote speaker Edward Shahady, M.D., Medical Director of the Florida Academy of Family Physicians Foundation Diabetes Master Clinician Program:

Group Visit Physician Breakfast Roundtable
7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Genesee County Medical Society

Group Visit Physician Education Event
3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sarvis Conference Center

At both events Dr. Shahady will present evidence on the effectiveness of group visits (also known as shared medical appointments) in treating chronic disease and share his experience in implementing them to treat diabetes. Primary care physicians and residents, as well as those interested in medical practice quality improvement, are invited to attend. The afternoon event has been approved for up to 2.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Pre-registration is required and may be completed by simply contacting the GFHC at (810) 232-2228 or gfhc@flint.org.

A family practice physician, Dr. Shahady is a graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University and the West Virginia University School of Medicine and is board certified in Clinical Lipidology. His current academic appointments include Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Miami and University of Florida. He has contributed over 170 scientific articles and 5 books to the medical literature in the areas of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, group medical visits, sports medicine, musculoskeletal medicine, behavioral science, physician retirement, patient centered medical homes, and the contribution of family medicine to effective health systems. Dr. Shahady has provided his leadership to numerous medical associations and committees and has received multiple honors in recognition of his service and contributions. In his role as Medical Director of the Florida Academy of Family Physicians Foundation Diabetes Master Clinician Program, Dr. Shahady visits physician offices and instructs providers and their staff on using an internet diabetes registry and conducting group visits. He is well known for his enthusiastic teaching style and ability to help learners at all levels understand complex issues.

Community Foundation of Greater Flint Awards GFHC $30,000 for Flint Healthcare Employment Opportunities (FHEO) Program

The Arthur L. Tuuri Health Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint has awarded the Greater Flint Health Coalition’s (GFHC) Flint Healthcare Employment Opportunities (FHEO) Program with a $30,000 grant. The GFHC’s FHEO Program, which began in 2002, provides residents with occupational healthcare training, healthcare industry focused life skills, case management, and supportive services that are needed to obtain future employment in high-demand healthcare industry careers.

This grant allows the GFHC to provide FHEO Program participants with comprehensive case management services which is an essential component to the success of those enrolled, providing professional, social, and academic services to overcome barriers to completing healthcare focused training. This funding will help lead to the outcomes of successful training program completion and sustainable employment.

“This support from the Community Foundation will allow the FHEO Program to continue to help Genesee County/Flint residents get the training they need to secure employment and begin a career in the healthcare field,” stated Kirk Smith, President & CEO, Greater Flint Health Coalition. Since its inception in 2002, the FHEO program has trained 691 Genesee County/Flint residents for healthcare careers.

To learn more about the FHEO Program, including eligibility criteria and an online application, visit www.gfhc.org/fheo.