A Publication of WTVP

Methodist Medical Center unveils a new name and renewed commitment to provide a better kind of healthcare.

On October 1, 2011, Methodist Health Services Corporation (MHSC) became the eighth senior affiliate of Iowa Health System. Now, IHS and Methodist have a new name that reflects a new focus on care coordination.

Iowa Health has become UnityPoint Health, and Methodist Medical Center will be known as UnityPoint Health – Methodist. Methodist Medical Group practices will be named UnityPoint Clinic, and Methodist Home Health and Hospice services branded as UnityPoint at Home and UnityPoint Hospice, respectively.

“We are still Methodist,” explains MHSC President and CEO Debbie Simon. “But we are also an integral part of a large healthcare system that gives our patients access to more resources than a standalone organization. The new name says there is a shared commitment throughout UnityPoint Health to providing a new and better kind of healthcare.”

This new kind of care involves even greater coordination of care among physician clinics, the hospital and home/hospice care, with an emphasis on the role of the primary care provider. UnityPoint Health intends to be a leader nationally in care coordination to achieve the triple aims of quality, service excellence and lower cost. Through care coordination, the system and all affiliates, including Methodist, are preparing to manage the care of all patients served.

“The old model of primary care is broken,” declares Dr. Keith Knepp, Methodist VP of systems integration. “Too often, patients have experienced delays in getting an appointment. Doctors are pressed for time, distracted by interruptions and the computer. The primary care doctor is not always aware of tests and procedures done by other physicians, and patients don’t feel that their doctor is fully aware of the challenges they face. We are developing a new model of care that is better for the patient, doctor and entire healthcare team.”

UnityPoint Health believes that care coordination is best done by healthcare professionals themselves—nurses, therapists, advanced practice providers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants), and physicians. Methodist’s new model for medical practices starts with training all personnel in the clinic to work at the “top of their license” in a team-based approach. Some team members perform tasks such as gathering data and monitoring health quality indicators, asking patients if they have had recommended screenings, such as a colonoscopy at age 50, or if they are taking their prescribed medications. That frees doctors and advanced practice providers to focus on their most important work—developing meaningful patient relationships and making complex medical decisions. Physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses and staff work as a team to deliver the highest quality care and service.

UnityPoint Health – Methodist also recognizes that care is increasingly provided outside of traditional clinical settings. It is often more cost-effective—and more beneficial to the patient—to receive care at home. That means a greater emphasis on the role of home health and hospice services. Methodist’s palliative care, or quality-of-life, program for chronically ill patients and its in-school health program are examples of services that deliver care where it is needed most.

Moreover, the focus on care coordination includes care navigators who work closely with the physician and patient to overcome obstacles, so patients can get healthier and stay healthier. In addition, registered nurses from the Methodist First Call Center support patient care through follow-up phone calls. And because all Methodist providers use the same electronic medical record and analytics system, it’s easy for doctors and advanced practice providers to see all the care their patients receive throughout the system.

“We are providing better value for our patients and for payers by delivering high-quality coordinated care across all care settings in a cost-effective manner,” explained Simon. “And best of all, it results in a better patient experience.” iBi