Statement From the Officers, Executive Committee, and Staff of the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative

The tragic and senseless killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and numerous others have punctuated the prominence of structural racism in the United States. Racism and prejudice are embedded into the culture, institutions, and policies of our society and have resulted in the repression, marginalization, and death of countless Black Americans. The Kentuckiana Health Collaborative (KHC) stands together with those seeking change and calling for the dismantling of these inequitable systems.

Structural racism against racial and ethnic minorities is a public health crisis. While health disparities have long been recognized as a public health concern, the continued display of discrimination and brutality against people of color calls for swift and decisive action to address health inequities and the effects of structural racism on health and well-being.

For nearly two decades, the KHC has worked to promote a better healthcare system where costs are reasonable, outcomes are exceptional, medical errors are minimal, and all patients are respected by providers that are energized and engaged in mission-driven work. Structural racism is present in the healthcare system. We are committed to working with the community to engage businesses and multiple healthcare stakeholders to create a healthcare system where your life expectancy and health outcomes are not determined by the color of your skin.

As a community, we must do more than acknowledge that Black Lives Matter; we must be willing to do the hard work to dismantle a culture and system of racism to make our community a safer and healthier place to live, play, pray, and work for all.

KHC Develops COVID-19 Data Dashboard for Kentuckiana

Over the past few months, the KHC team has been developing numerous COVID-19 resources for our community members, healthcare stakeholders, employers, and more. Along with the COVID-19 Testing Employer Resource Guide, the KHC recently developed a dashboard that displays COVID-19 data specific to the Kentuckiana region. While data is readily available at the state and county level, few resources exist reporting on how COVID-19 is affecting Kentuckiana. To mend this, the KHC team developed a dashboard that provides a snapshot of how COVID-19 is impacting the region. Kentuckiana as defined by the KHC consists of the seven counties included in the former Louisville metropolitan statistical area (MSA). This includes Kentucky’s Jefferson, Oldham, and Bullitt counties and Indiana’s Floyd, Clark, Harrison, and Scott counties. The dashboard, which is available on the COVID-19 Resources page, includes graphs of cumulative case rates as well as new cases per day presented at the county level. Presented below is a snapshot of the dashboard.

On the bar graph, users will find the number of new cases per day for each county. The graph is helpful in seeing peaks, trends, and differences among counties. For instance, Jefferson County has continuously reported a higher number of new cases compared to other counties. When viewing this graph, users should be mindful of factors contributing to variability between days including when cases are reported and when test results are available in each county.

The dashboard also includes a map and line graph presenting cumulative case rates per county. By viewing the map, users may notice the stark difference in case rates between counties; all of Indiana’s counties – Harrison, Floyd, Clark and Scott – have higher rates of COVID-19 than Kentucky’s counties. The line graph includes both cumulative case rates over time and information on key COVID-19-related events for Kentucky. Hovering over any of the vertical lines will display descriptions of these events. For more county-specific breakdowns of data and key events pertaining to Indiana, visit https://covidkentuckianadata.com/.

By viewing the dashboard, users will gain a better understanding of how COVID-19 is not just impacting Kentucky or Indiana, but how it is affecting Kentuckiana counties both distinctively and as a whole. The dashboard will be updated regularly so users should check back often to stay informed.

KHC Releases COVID-19 Testing Employer Resource Guide

The Kentuckiana Health Collaborative has assumed a role during the COVID-19 pandemic as a key resource hub for pulling together the variety of perspectives that now, more than ever, must convene and collaborate to make a measurable impact on our healthcare system and community. As part of this role, the KHC built a COVID-19 resource page. The information found on this page caters to a variety of perspectives: community members, healthcare providers and payers, employers, and more. Recognizing the information fatigue that many of us may be experiencing, the goal of this resource page is to provide a one-stop-shop for direct guidance on personal, business, and healthcare practices while also providing opportunities to dive deeper into topics of interest.

In addition to the consolidation of resources from national, state, and local leaders, the KHC is striving to build resources that meet community needs and strongly benefit from the perspective of thought-leaders across all stakeholder groups. Despite the wealth of resources available, there are many key questions that remain unaddressed. A number of these questions surround COVID-19 testing technologies and procedures, specifically when it comes to the workplace. As Kentucky and Indiana reopen and employers begin to implement their workplace COVID-19 plan, testing is a critical, but convoluted component. To bridge the gap between clinical recommendations and workplace guidelines and logistics, the KHC has developed a COVID-19 Testing Employer Resource Guide.

The guide provides a high-level look at the different types of COVID-19 tests that are available, their usefulness, and their flaws. Noting that COVID-19 should only be a component of an employer’s larger COVID-19 workplace plan, the guide elaborates on regulations and testing logistics that employers may consider when building their plan. Part of this plan might include establishing a new partnership with a testing provider or establishing a new service with an existing health care partner. The guide provides instruction on how to determine which partner is providing evidence-based and reliable testing and promoting care coordination.

This guide was released on June 2 at the KHC Community Health Forum, “The Impact of COVID-19 on our Healthcare System and Community.” For questions, comments, or additional information, contact Natalie Middaugh, KHC Community Health Program Manager, at nmiddaugh@khcollaborative.org.

Mental Health Month Highlights ‘Tools 2 Thrive’ During COVID-19 Pandemic

If there was ever a time for us to recognize the universal nature of mental health, it is now. With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us have experienced loneliness, anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness, among other challenging feelings. Perhaps these challenges are new for some, and perhaps for the one in five people with a preexisting mental health condition, these challenges have been exacerbated. Regardless of your perception or relationship to mental health prior to the pandemicthis situation has reinforced the fact that all of us have mental health to consider. As we all adapt to new recommendations for protecting our physical health such as wearing masks and social distancing, let us also take action to protect and promote our mental health. 

In timely fashion, May is Mental Health Month. A tradition dating back to 1949, Mental Health America observes every May as a time to promote the message that mental health is something that everyone should care about. This Mental Health Months’ theme is “Tools 2 Thrive” and aims to share practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase their resiliency when facing challenges. Mental Health America has consolidated these tools in their 2020 Mental Health Month Toolkit. Here, readers can see tips, facts, and worksheets for:  

  • Connecting with Others 
  • Creating Healthy Routines 
  • Finding the Positive After Loss
  • Eliminating Toxic Influences 
  • Owning Your Feelings 
  • Supporting Others 

In support of Mental Health Month, the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative team is sharing how we have been taking care of our mental health during these challenging times. 

 

Stephanie Clouser 

As an introvert who often overschedules herself socially to the point of exhaustion, in a way I feel like I’ve been craving an extended moment like this. I’ve welcomed the opportunity to recharge. Still, there are added pressures and anxieties that come along with it. I have found success navigating the last couple of months through a balance of structure and spontaneity. From the beginning, I set up a working routine that included getting dressed in the morning even if I wasn’t leaving the house, only working from my home office and not from the couch, and more. But too much structure and planning doesn’t leave a lot of room for happiness, so when it comes to how I spend my non-working time, I give myself the space to pursue what inspires me that day. Maybe that includes going for a walk instead of a run or reading instead of journaling. As long as I’m doing something that’s either productive or good for my soul, I go with it! 

Emily Divino 

At the beginning of the week, I write in my planner a small goal I want to accomplish every day. These goals can be as small as just doing my laundry or carving out time to go run. For me, this process instills a sense of productivity and helps me maintain some sort of routine amongst the ongoing chaos. The extra time at home has also allowed me to start on household projects that I have been meaning to do for a while. I am also making sure to partake in activities that bring me joy, like listening to music or crafting. However, I do still find myself struggling at times adjusting to this new normal. I find that talking to my friends and family about the current situation and how we are feeling helps me cope. Virtual platforms, like Zoom, have been a great way for me to stay connected to my friends and family during these times.  

Natalie Middaugh  

I know I am not alone in saying that life has felt like a roller-coaster since the onset of COVID-19.  Some days and weeks, I settle into a groove and am thriving with working from home, connecting with friends and family, and making the most of newfound free time. Other days and weeks, I feel incredibly overwhelmed with uncertainty, anxiety, and stress. What has helped me most in managing these ups and downs is checking in with myself, recognizing how I’m feeling, and identifying what I need to do to honor and manage those feelings. Helpful habits for me have included maintaining my sleep and exercise routine, reducing screen time, taking long leisurely walks with my dog, reading, and exploring new and old hobbies alike. 

 

Demonstrated here, there are a variety of ways to support mental health. Although this may look different for each of us, it’s important to remember that this is shared experience. Mental Health Month can help serve as a reminder of this fact and provide useful tools for managing and promoting our mental well-being.

If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, Mental Health America offers a free mental health screening tool. For free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800) 273-8255.

Kentuckiana Health Collaborative Releases Community Measurement Reports, Collects Data on Opioid Prescribing

The Kentuckiana Health Collaborative is pleased to release the 2018 Community Measurement Reports, which also includes opioid prescribing data as part of the KHC’s partnership with the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE).

For the last 15 years, the KHC has led the way in healthcare quality measurement and transparency through Consolidated Measurement Reports, which allows for comparison to local and state averages and benchmark scores on the quality of care patients receive on a variety of ambulatory care indicators. The KHC is the only organization that combines Commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare Advantage data for quality reporting. The data also allows us to see where we have improved – or not – as a community in these key indicators of quality healthcare.

For the second year, the measures on the reports include all of the 2019 Kentucky Core Healthcare Measures Set for which there was available data and features a highlight of where the community performs well and where there are gaps in care. To access the full reports, click here.

OPIOID PRESCRIBING DATA SHOWS REGION AROUND THE NATIONAL AVERAGE

This year’s Community Measurement Reports feature two new measures related to opioid prescribing: Use of Opioids from Multiple Providers and Use of Opioids at High Dosage. The first measure looks at the proportion of patients who are getting opioids from multiple prescribers, multiple pharmacies, or both. Use of Opioids at High Dosage looks at the number of patients who received prescription opioids at a high dosage for great than or equal to 15 days during the year.

The information was collected as part of the KHC’s partnership with the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE), in which the KHC has partnered with national data leaders to explore opioid use trends for Kentucky’s residents. In November, the KHC partnered with IBM Watson Health to develop benchmarks for key metrics related to the prevention, treatment, and recovery of opioid misuse and opioid use disorder. The results were discussed in a November webinar. If interested in learning more detail about this data and key takeways, a recording of our November webinar can be viewed here.

When we look at the KHC Community Measurement Report measures for opioid-related care, similar to the IBM Watson data, Kentucky and Kentuckiana fall near national averages.

Kentucky data shows opioid prescribing similar to national averages.

WEBINAR PLANNED FOR MAY 21

For more information on the opioid measures, as well as all the results of the 2019 Community Measurement Reports, register for a complementary KHC Webinar on May 21. The event will include an overview of these reports, the data, and a chance to ask the KHC questions. You can find more information about the webinar here.

Pain Symposium Kickstarts Employer Conversation on Advancing Comprehensive, Integrative, Evidence-Based Pain Management

At the peak of the opioid crisis in 2017, the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative identified substance use disorders and mental health as one of our top organizational priorities. Since then we have convened our community partners to develop several resources and educational opportunities to aid in addressing the crisis. Through this work, it became increasingly clear that as our national, state, and local communities have taken great strides in supporting from the prevention, treatment, and recovery from opioid misuse and opioid use disorders, there has been an increasing need to address the closely related issue of pain management. On April 22, stakeholders from across Kentuckiana came together virtually to explore the complex relationship between pain and opioids, opportunities and challenges for pain management in our current system, and what employers can do to begin driving improvement.

Striking a Balance  

The relationship between pain and opioids is multifaceted and has been long developing. The implications of inappropriate opioid use are apparent; however, opioids are also an incredibly effective method of treating pain in some clinical situations. Travis Rieder, PhD, Director of the Master of Bioethics degree program and Research Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, kicked off the day’s conversation by exploring this dilemma through his own experience as a trauma patient. Rieder’s story highlighted the conflict between undertreating pain as a result of fear and overprescribing opioids when trying to relieve pain. In his presentation, Rieder followed the polarizing history that our country has had with opioids over the past century – ebbing and flowing between periods of widespread use, then addiction, then abstinence, all the while perpetuating the harmful stigma that surrounds the drug. By using our history as a lesson, Dr. Rieder advocated that now is the time to resolve our attitude towards opioids and find a balance between prohibition and liberal use.

Stories such as Dr. Rieder’s highlight how opioids can be a valuable tool in the pain management “toolbox,” although they should not always be considered a first-line option. Appropriate prescribing and tapering practices must be implemented, alongside a compassionate, patient-centered approach that considers the biological, psychological, and social factors that contribute to pain.

Transforming the System

To manage pain, an individualized, multidisciplinary, and multimodal approach is demonstrated to be the most effective. Despite this, its implementation is often challenged by cultural and systemic barriers. Amy Goldstein, Director of the Alliance to Advance Comprehensive, Integrative Pain Management (AACIPM), led a panel of local providers to explore the biopsychosocial model of pain and what is necessary to make individualized, multidisciplinary, and multimodal pain management a reality. Danesh Mazloomdoost, MD, Founder of Wellward Regenerative Medicine shared the biology of pain management. Larry Benz, President and CEO of Confluent Health, highlighted the functional outcomes of pain management and promising advance in pain neuroscience. Molly Rutherford, MD, MPH, FASAM, Founder, Bluegrass Family Wellness, PLLC, shared her experience as a primary care physician and member of the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force. Collectively, these providers painted a picture of what pain management should look like and what needs to happen to bridge the gap.

At the national level, there is a movement geared towards making comprehensive, integrative pain management a reality, and several organizations have done so with demonstrated positive outcomes. At the symposium, Goldstein presented on the AACIPM movement, a multi-stakeholder collaborative including purchasers, public and private payers, providers, people with pain, researchers, government, federal medicine, policy experts, patient/and caregiver advocates, and more. The work focuses on connecting the dots in shared interest to improve access to quality, safe, evidence-based, individualized pain care that is oriented to the whole person. As part of AACIPM, Goldstein was​ joined by Kavitha Reddy, MD, FACEP, ABoIM and Christine Goertz, DC, PhD to share how their organizations have implemented this approach to pain care. Dr. Reddy, who serves as the Whole Health System Clinical Director at VA St. Louis Healthcare System and National Whole Health Champion, Veterans Health Administration, shared the VA’s whole health system model of care and the impact the transformational effort is making on Veterans in VHA. Dr. Goertz, a Professor of Musculoskeletal Research at Duke University School of Medicine shared a model for spine care across a continuum of services, ranging from evidence-based patient education to state-of-the-art surgical techniques.

Making the Employer Case

The morning was spent with a clinical focus and set the stage for the afternoon’s employer-focused discussion. Randa Deaton, President and CEO of the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative, introduced the role of employers as key healthcare stakeholders, emphasizing how employers can re-position themselves to leverage best practices and take action to reduce costs, eliminate inappropriate care, and improve health outcomes. Erin Peterson, MPH, Researcher at the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) supported the benefits of such approaches by sharing IBI’s research on the impact of employee health on business outcomes and strategies on how the two interests can be aligned. IBI’s research on opioids and pain revealed that opioid use, whether appropriate or inappropriate, is a large driver of employee absence. However, their findings also revealed that three out of five employees used opioids to treat pain without misusing them, underscoring the larger issue of pain management in the workforce. Peterson’s guidance for employers centered on leveraging partner expertise, raising workforce awareness, preventing opioid abuse, and ensuring employee access to substance use disorder treatment.

With a clear understanding of the employer role in addressing these issues and the business impact of not doing so, the conversation moved towards using claims data and benefit design as a way for employers to act. Last fall, the KHC partnered with IBM Watson Health to develop benchmarks for key metrics related to the prevention, treatment, and recovery of opioid misuse and opioid use disorder. IBM Watson Health derived these benchmarks from MarketScan, a fully integrated drug and medical claims database that includes more than 350 carriers and 25% of U.S employer-sponsored healthcare beneficiaries. At the Pain Symposium, IBM Watson Health team members Katherine Haverty, MS Pharmacology, and Norah Mulvaney-Day, PhD, presented an update to these key metrics, revealing trends in the data from 2016-2018 and top strategies for each stakeholder type to improve pain and substance abuse management.

Taking Next Steps

As part of an ongoing relationship with the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE), the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative has developed a number of new resources for employers to continue catalyzing the improvement of prevention, treatment, and recovery of opioid misuse and opioid use disorder as well as the treatment of acute and chronic pain.

The “Opioids and the Workplace” toolkit has been re-released in an online, interactive version and can be found here. Additionally, the toolkit has been updated to provide best practice data analytic and healthcare benefit design recommendations for employers in advancing comprehensive, integrative, pain management. With these updates, employers can first first and foremost learn the basics of pain and information on why do we experience pain, how pain should be treated, and why it isn’t being treated appropriately. Employers will also learn what medical and pharmacy analytics they can evaluate in order to better understand how pain is being addressed among their health plan members. The updated benefit design recommendations will guide employers on what pain management modalities should be included in their health plan, along with what design considerations employers should make when including them. Last but not least, the KHC has developed a data analytics worksheet for employers to utilize alongside toolkit’s data analytics recommendations. This worksheet allows employers to input their own data and compare it alongside both Kentucky and national benchmarks.

For more information on the Pain Symposium, including speaker presentations, click here. For more information on the KHC’s Opioids and the Workplace initiative, click here or contact nmiddaugh@khcollaborative.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Teresa Couts Leaves Kentuckiana Health Collaborative After a Decade of Exemplary Leadership

KHC Co-Directors Teresa Couts and Randa Deaton

Dr. Teresa Couts and I have served together over the last decade as the Co-Directors of the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative (KHC) and Co-Directors of the UAW/Ford Community Healthcare Initiative (CHI). Teresa and I were often seen together and worked closely, as the nature of our work was joint in nature between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and Ford Motor Company. People confused us often, and we learned to answer to one another’s names. We even wondered if we should blend our names into “TerAnda” or “RandEsa.” We settled on “TerAnda.” Our dynamic duo ended on April 1, 2020, as Teresa transitioned back to Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant for her next career move, albeit a bit delayed due to COVID-19.

Dr. Teresa Couts began her career with UAW/Ford Motor Company in 1995, serving in a variety of positions throughout her career. Teresa and I first began working together in the late ‘90s in Ford’s training department. For those of you who know Teresa, it will be unsurprising to hear that she emerged as a strong leader and a popular, effective, and engaging trainer. After I moved into a new role as the Director of the Family Center, Teresa became a board member of the center, so our work continued to cross paths in the early 2000s. In 2011, Dr. Teresa Couts became the third and final UAW Director of the UAW/Ford CHI, with me as the Corporate Director of the UAW/Ford CHI program.

The UAW/Ford Community Healthcare Initiative began forming and convening the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative (KHC) in 2001 and closed on March 31, 2020 after nearly 20 years of community health service to Greater Louisville. Teresa was responsible for convening and leading key healthcare stakeholders to collaborate on healthcare improvements focused on measurement, transparency, and transformation. Dr. Couts handled all of the KHC’s finances and membership along with many other key operational and leadership responsibilities. In her role, she was honored as a Medistar Healthcare Leadership Nominee in 2019 by Medical News, received the Leadership Award with the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions in 2018, and received Louisville’s Commitment to Compassion Award by Insider Louisville in 2017. On March 11, 2020, the KHC honored Teresa with a “Leading by Example” award recognizing her years of dedicated service and leadership.

Teresa is known for her commitment to excellence, strength, resiliency, work ethic, leadership, uncanny memory, and “better than Google maps” skills. Her role cannot and will not be fulfilled by anyone, and I want to thank her on behalf of the entire KHC team for her exemplary leadership. Teresa will be greatly missed by the KHC staff, board, members, community, and certainly by me. Her early morning starts, willingness to do anything needed to get the job done, excitement about yummy vegan food, passion for sports and politics, beautiful smile, quick wit, and unconditional friendship will be missed. I thank Teresa for her partnership and friendship over the years. As Co-Directors, Teresa and I are proud of our accomplishments together, and the growth of the KHC will be part of Teresa’s lasting legacy.

As Teresa and I abandon “TerAnda” and reclaim our respective names, we will learn to adapt to our new and separate, yet familiar, roles. When office work returns to “normal,” we will notice the office a bit dimmer without Teresa’s light. I wish Teresa continued success in her next career chapter and look forward to the day we can connect again in person for some amazing food, drinks, family updates, and new and old stories that only old co-workers can appreciate.

KHC Releases ‘Opioids and the Workplace’ Online Interactive Toolkit, Addition on Pain Management

As part of the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative’s (KHC) ongoing focus on high value behavioral healthcare and third year of partnership with the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE), the KHC has developed updated thier “Opioids and the Workplace: An Employer Toolkit for Supporting Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery” toolkit to now contain an additional section specific to pain management. The toolkit, previously released in PDF form, has also been transformed into an online, interactive toolkit with an accompanying worksheet for employers to utilize their data to understand the status of their workforce’s substance and opioid use disorder (OUD) risks and trends.

“Opioids and the Workplace” provides recommendations and tools for employers to support their employees and their dependents in prevention, treatment, and recovery from opioid misuse and OUD and contains considerations and strategies for employers to create workplace policies and benefit design related to opioid use.

The interactive, expanded toolkit and data analytics worksheet was released April 22 at the “KHC Pain Symposium: Moving Upstream of the Opioid Epidemic” virtual event. The half day event explored pain – where we’ve come from, where we are, and how employers can drive where we need to go. The event was the culmination of a six-month cohort of employers dedicated to becoming partners in the fighting the opioid crisis in Kentucky. The cohort, representing 23% of commercially-insured Kentuckians, dived deeper into the how the KHC’s “Opioids and the Workplace” toolkit recommendations can be implemented by national and local employers through healthcare best practice sharing of benefit design and workplace policies.

The KHC Pain Symposium agenda included topics such as evidence-based treatment, the role of key stakeholders, the context of pain reliever misuse in the workforce, employer-sponsored insurance benchmarking, and resources and next steps for employers.

To access the online toolkit with expanded material, visit the “Opioids and the Workplace” webpage here.

 

Kentuckiana Health Collaborative Looks to the Future as it Achieves Independence

Today marks a significant milestone for the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative as it operates for the first time without the infrastructure and leadership of the UAW/Ford Community Healthcare Initiative (CHI), the KHC’s convener since the coalition’s formation. As we reflect on this important change, let’s walk down memory lane with some of the history of the UAW/Ford CHI and how it came to convene the KHC.

In 2001, the United Auto Workers (UAW) and Ford Motor Company formed the last of its Community Healthcare Initiatives in Greater Louisville, making it the eighth joint program between UAW and Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. The innovative program was formed years in advance of America’s National Quality Strategy focused on IHI’s Triple Aim framework of better health, better care, and lower healthcare costs. The initiatives were formed to develop a community healthcare delivery system that provided high value care and better health outcomes. While this strategy is commonly accepted today, it was groundbreaking at the time for a business to involve itself in healthcare.

In 2003, the Lewin Group conducted an 18-month comprehensive assessment of the health status, needs, and resources of Greater Louisville. All healthcare stakeholders were invited to join a group to develop a strategy for addressing the study’s findings and to identify the community’s top priorities. Those initial community members decided to form the Kentuckiana Health Alliance, now the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative, with a steering committee and taskforces focused on the selected priorities of chronic disease, obesity, tobacco, and soon after, quality of care. Today’s KHC Consolidated Measurement Reports were a result of those early priorities. The KHC became an independent non-profit in 2011 and hired its first full-time employee in 2015.

One of the common misperceptions around the UAW/Ford CHI was that the program was only focused on UAW/Ford employees, rather than the community at large. In fact, the program was designed to focus only on community health with the assumption that to address the health and healthcare needs of employees, efforts required a change in the entire health and healthcare ecosystem where employees and their families worked, played, and prayed. Another principal strategy of CHI was to gain critical mass of businesses and key healthcare stakeholders to change healthcare delivery systems. Therefore, the community initiatives looked to find improvement efforts that were not just focused on UAW and Ford workers but all citizens across all payers.

Since its inception, the KHC has strived to be a trusted and effective convener of community health in close partnership with the UAW/Ford CHI. Together, the organizations have worked towards the shared Triple Aim goals. As one of the Co-Directors, I could not be more grateful for the ability to serve the KHC, UAW/Ford CHI, and the Greater Louisville and Kentucky community. Today marks the first day in nearly a decade without Dr. Teresa Couts’ valuable leadership, and her contributions and those of the UAW/Ford CHI staff before her should be applauded. The success of the KHC has truly been the result of the willing collaboration of many organizations, and I am grateful for UAW/Ford’s significant investments in community health and the KHC over the last 20 years. UAW/Ford remains a key employer in Greater Louisville and thus remains a key stakeholder of the KHC’s current work.

As we look to the future, healthcare quality and affordability will continue to be one of the most urgent matters facing our nation, state, and community and an ongoing priority of the KHC. Additionally, improving the prevention, treatment, and recovery of opioid use disorder as part of the broader mental health and substance use disorder epidemic will remain a key priority of the coalition along with learning how to incorporate the social, economic, and environmental factors that influence health as part of all of our program work moving forward. It goes without saying that the impact of COVID-19 on our community’s health and our healthcare system is profound and no doubt will become a new priority of the KHC, as the virus strains our providers, government, businesses, and every community member and organization.

I am honored to serve as the new President and CEO of the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative. I am very optimistic about the future of the KHC and am confident that our team will continue the organization’s legacy of finding innovative solutions to the complex healthcare challenges that Kentucky and Southern Indiana face.

KHC Pain Symposium Goes Virtual

Because nothing is more important than the health and safety of our community and partners, we have decided to make KHC’s April 22 Pain Symposium a virtual event out of an abundance of caution for the spread of COVID-19.

Much of the event will stay the same including the date and only slight modifications to the times and lineup of expert speakers. We will use a platform called “BlueJeans” to stream the event. We recently utilized the platform to virtually hold our annual conference with great success. For these reasons, we are confident that we will host an engaging and informative event for our attendees.

Details on how to join virtually will be sent out to attendees once we have it. As a reminder, updates and general information on the symposium can be found on the event page here.

If your organization is interested in potential sponsorship opportunities for this event, please contact Emily Divino at edivino@khcollaborative.org.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we adjust to these challenging times. There are still some details to work through, so please continue checking emails from us and the event page for updates. If you have any specific questions or concerns about the symposium, don’t hesitate to contact the KHC staff. We are committed to delivering an educational event and look forward to you virtually joining us on April 22!