CHS Leadership stresses importance of community partnerships to improve health of communityCrystal Lake-”Great healthcare depends on partnerships between hospitals, area health departments, emergency services systems and most importantly, the community,” was the message Eileen Barnes, director of Quality Resources for Centegra Health System, stressed during her talk at Centegra’s Fourth Annual McHenry County Leadership Briefing on August 3 at the Crystal Lake Holiday Inn. The briefing, hosted by Michel S. Eesley, Centegra’s President and CEO, and Centegra’s leadership team, addressed over 140 community leaders on the health status of the county, as well as, Centegra’s commitment to partnering with the community for a healthier tomorrow.
According to Ro Wermes, director of Planning for Centegra Health System, the McHenry County community rates better than the state of Illinois in three of the target health areas, but it still has the opportunity to improve the health status of residents in six of the ten health indicators in comparison with Healthy People 2010, a program which sets health objectives for the Nation to achieve increased quality and years of healthy life. “The indicators in which we can still show improvement include obesity, tobacco usage, substance abuse, mental health, immunizations and access to healthcare,” Wermes, said.
Wermes also noted that the leading causes of death in the county remain heart disease and cancer. “As an organization, Centegra Health System has partnered with other area health organizations and community groups to create The McHenry County Healthy Community Study Partnership program to help combat the health issues we still experience as a community.” The Partnership will ask community leaders and focus groups for valuable information on the health needs of the community to determine if there is a need for new programs. The survey will take place over the next year and the data will be gathered by Leadership Greater McHenry County, a community-wide leadership development organization founded by Centegra Health System and many other community organizations.
Eileen Barnes also expressed to leaders that Centegra Health System has made the commitment to improve the health status of the community by promoting disease prevention education as well as doing what it can to ensure accessibility and affordability of quality healthcare services in the community. “Centegra believes that quality care that can’t be accessed, for whatever reason, is not quality care and that is why we partner with the community to bring care to the people through flu clinics and low-cost immunization clinics as well as by working with local emergency medical systems to improve patient outcomes in emergency situations such as cardiac arrests,” Barnes added.
Michael S. Eesley, Centegra President and CEO, spoke to leaders about some of the accomplishments Centegra has achieved in the last year including Centegra Memorial Medical Center being named as one of US News & World Report’s Top 50 Hospitals for Respiratory Care and Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center being named as one of Solucient’s Top 100 Performance Improvement Leaders. He also noted new or expanded services including Centegra Bariatric Center for New Hope, Centegra Anticoagulation Clinic and expanded services in cardiology and cancer care.
Eelsey also announced that on January 1, 2006 Centegra will become the first health system in the area to be completely smoke/tobacco-free inside and outside of all its buildings. He also informed leaders of the direct impact their organizations can have on the health of the community by encouraging a smoke/tobacco-free environment in their own organization. “Over $3.7 billion is spent each year on treating smoking-related illnesses and as responsible members of the community we have an obligation to do what we can to improve the health of those around us and I encourage each of you to do the same to help us make McHenry County a healthier community,” he added.