Access to Primary Care
According to our Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), many members of Wellstar’s community have care access challenges in large part due to insurance constraints and provider access shortages. At Wellstar, we are committed to serving our community’s most vulnerable and under-resourced populations. Programs like Wellstar 4-1 Care help increase access to care and provide reduced-cost outpatient medical services through our partnership with a network of community clinics. By partnering with community clinics, healthcare systems like Wellstar can help reduce emergency department visits, decrease avoidable readmissions, boost patient satisfaction scores, and identify a patient’s health risk factors before an illness develops.
Wellstar Behavioral Health offers a variety of services to assist the unique health needs of our community members. As part of our ongoing efforts, the Wellstar Opioid Steering Committee is focused on planning and implementing a comprehensive response to growing opioid misuse. A collaborative team of Wellstar providers, patients and communities have come together to help reduce opioid misuse, abuse and addiction. Three physician-led workgroups lead the charge using provider and patient education, clinical initiatives, and community awareness and engagement.
According to our CHNA, many Wellstar communities are caught in the vicious cycle of balancing housing and healthcare needs with their food needs. As a result, food insecurity and poor nutrition may lead to a higher risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity, hypertension and diabetes. To address this health inequity, Wellstar has begun food insecurity screening as a standardized protocol in vulnerable patient intake procedures, especially in areas in which a significant percentage of the patient population is identified as low income.
To help reduce suicide rates and improve the care for people who seek help, Wellstar Health System has implemented key components of the Zero Suicide framework. Recognized by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention among others, Zero Suicide believes suicidal individuals can often fall through the cracks when being treated in healthcare systems. Using this framework as a guide, Wellstar is making systematic improvements to promote suicide prevention and enhance treatment in clinical settings.
Despite the known benefits, cancer screening rates continue to be a challenge throughout Georgia, with minority, low income and rural populations reporting less screening according to recommended guidelines. Wellstar is committed to increasing current cancer screening rates by at least 20 percent, dedicating resources in these critical gaps. In alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Cancer Society, Wellstar will build a program to support patients and physicians through the cancer screening and treatment process. With our continued care and support, we will help increase access to cancer screening and promote early detection of the disease.
At Wellstar, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive care to every woman, every time. To address the priorities identified in the CHNA process, Wellstar Women’s Health is caring for maternal and infant health needs through clinical practices, patient education and community outreach.
Physician- and nurse-led councils monitor policies, procedures and protocols to ensure the quality of obstetrics across the system and on-site level. We are implementing new evidence-based policies and procedures to reduce maternal mortality, which will impact approximately 45,000 mothers and their babies born at Wellstar facilities within the next three years. These quality-assurance efforts will help improve maternal obstetric hemorrhage, hypertensive crisis and preeclamptic-related injury rates, along with infant birth injury rates, in other organizations similar to Wellstar Health System nationwide.
Our Women and Children Resource Center is also expanding its patient education offerings—such as perinatal support services, family education and breastfeeding—to reach more than 15,000 families annually. Wellstar will continue its support and participation in local and state public health department programs, maternal health committees and a women’s health task force, such as the Georgia Perinatal Quality Collaborative led by the Georgia Department of Public Health. Our participation will continue to address health disparity and equity challenges that impact health outcomes for Georgia’s mothers and infants.