BY MARY WICOFF
With its new name, Presence United Samaritans Medical Center wants people to know that it is truly present for the patient and the community.
As part of Presence Health, both United Samaritans in Danville and Presence Covenant Medical Center in Urbana have made the transition to their new names, and a marketing campaign will begin Monday.
Temporary signs will be erected with the new names, and those will be replaced by permanent signage later.
Last year, the name Presence Health was chosen for the new health care system formed by the November 2011 merger of Provena Health of Mokena and Resurrection Health Care of Chicago.
While a name change is exciting, it goes deeper than that, said Mike Brown, regional president and chief executive officer at both medical centers.
As the newest health care system in Illinois, Presence Health has a new way of thinking when it comes to health care, he said. Presence is leading health care reform by shifting its care model from disease-centered toward patient-centered.
In the traditional disease-centered model, physicians make almost all treatment decisions based largely on clinical experience and data from various medical tests.
In a patient-centered model, patients become active participants in their own care and receive services designed to focus on their individual needs and preferences, in addition to advice and counsel from health professionals. Studies have shown that patient-centered care results
in better patient outcomes, fewer hospitalizations, fewer diagnostic tests and specialty referrals, and lower overall medical costs.
The new patient-centered model of care focuses on the patient and family experience, and provides high quality and value in partnership with physicians and employees. Plus, it builds healthy communities by preventing illness.
“Above all, we will deliver care with compassion, dignity and respect at every stage of life,” he said.
He added, “Our challenge is to be a leader in the transformation of health care in the state of Illinois.”
That includes keeping quality up and health care costs down, and also encouraging people to stay healthy.
An example of being patient-centered is that nurses changing shifts will have their discussions at the patient’s bedside so he or she can be involved. “Now we have a conversation with you, not about you,” Brown said.
Also, whole teams of people — such as the pharmacist, physician and specialists — will visit a patient with the goal of answering the question, “How are we going to get you ready for discharge?”
To help patients identify caregivers, employees now wear color-coded uniforms. For example, a family looking for a nurse will look for someone in a navy blue uniform.
Presence United Samaritans also is focusing on wellness, rather than treating a disease; it’s important to work with people so they don’t become unhealthy in the first place or that patients don’t return to the hospital.
For example, United Samaritans Foundation has set up a kiosk at County Market at the Village Mall to help people make healthy food choices.
United Samaritans also has moved rehabilitation services to the lobby level, which is more convenient for those patients, and is in the process of creating a Clinical Decision Unit in the Emergency Department.
The Clinical Decision Unit will provide an alternative to discharge or hospital admission for patients who may need extended observation or additional diagnostic evaluation. This reduces unnecessary hospital admissions and thus the cost to the patient and the hospital, and possibly prevents a premature discharge from the Emergency Department.
A change in the near future is that a nurse practitioner will be added to the chronic disease unit to help patients manage their disorder without recurring admissions.
Patients also will benefit from a broad array of services being made available throughout the system.
For example, being part of Presence Health means access to specialty care, such as cardiothoracic surgeons, visiting plastic surgeons, expedited transfers to the renowned neurosciences services at Presence St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet and around-the-clock intensivists available in all hospitals through eICU.
These advantages will allow the hospitals to continue to invest in the communities they serve through charitable care and by expanding or enhancing care, services, technologies and facilities.
Presence Health is also at the hub of a growing trend that involves employers going directly to health care providers for health care benefits, as well as innovative strategies to keep their work force well.
Presence Health, a not-for-profit health system, encompasses 12 hospitals, 27 senior care locations, more than 500 employed physicians and 90 primary and specialty care clinics, extensive home health services and a fully-accredited, not-for-profit specialty school for health sciences. The system has 22,000 employees and 4,000 expert medical staff physicians in 150 locations across the state.
A marketing campaign introducing the new Presence Health brand will begin Monday. The new website is already live at www.presencehealth.org.