Aligning Forces for Quality – South Central PA Already Addressing 2011 Health Care Rankings

(York, Pa.) – Aligning Forces for Quality – South Central PA is already ahead of the game with working to improve the health of Adams & York Counties. The organization's mission is to bring together everyone who gets care, gives care and pays for care in order to improve the overall quality of health care in the region. This addresses the results of the 2011 County Health Rankings (www.countyhealthrankings.org) released yesterday by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Aligning Forces for Quality – South Central PA is part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Aligning Forces for Quality initiative, a program in 17 communities across the country designed to lift the overall quality of health care by engaging patients, physicians, employers, insurance plans – everyone in the community.

"The Rankings show that there are wide variations in the health care available in Pennsylvania. While this reflects a national problem, health care is delivered locally, and these rankings are yet another call for people to work together to improve care. Aligning Forces for Quality is a great way for people to learn what they can do to positively impact their own health, and the health of the entire community," said Chris Amy, Project Director of Aligning Forces for Quality – South Central PA.

Aligning Forces for Quality – South Central PA is a collaboration of doctors, nurses, hospitals, employers, insurance plans and consumers, and through their various initiatives the organization is making strides in improving health care. Through Transforming Care at the Bedside, which focuses on nurse and patient interaction; Health Literacy Learning Collaborative which is implementing "Teach Back" to ensure patients really understand what the doctors are saying to them; and the Community Checkup, which shows how well York and Adams Counties' doctor offices are providing care, and how well patients are participating in their care, the organization is addressing a majority of health indicators mentioned in the Rankings.

"We're also holding I Can! Challenges to better educate patients with diabetes and heart disease about their overall health, and how to partner with their doctor. We are holding discussions in the community to determine how to remove the health barriers for individuals of different races and literacy backgrounds. We are looking at quality of care as a whole by going into primary care practices and hospitals to teach providers, nurses, all of the staff how to eliminate unnecessary tasks, which then allow more time with the patient," stated Amy.

"No single person, group or profession can make improvements throughout a community without the support of others – everyone must work together. Providers can join our collaboratives, patients can participate in the I Can! Challenge, and employers can partner with AF4Q. There are many ways people can get involved. There really is a spot for everyone in AF4Q," Amy said.

There is always room for improvement, but Adams & York Counties did rank higher in some areas as shown below.

  • Adams County ranked third in Pennsylvania for its quality of care.
  • York County ranked fourth in Pennsylvania for its clinical care.
  • In York County, 89% of diabetic Medicare enrollees receive HbA1c screenings, which is higher than the percentage for Pennsylvania as a whole. In Adams County, 87% receive the screening. These screenings help assess how well a patient has managed his or her diabetes over a course of time.
  • In both counties, the number of patients hospitalized for reasons that are preventable is much better than Pennsylvania as a whole.
  • York County's percentage of female Medicare enrollees receiving mammography screenings is higher than the percentage for Pennsylvania.

"We've already begun through AF4Q, but we need more people to join us so we can be a healthier community. This data helps give us a snapshot of how healthy residents are, so we can all work together to pinpoint the problems, figure out what needs to be improved, and start (if not continue) to lift the barriers to good health," Amy said.

To learn more about Aligning Forces for Quality – South Central Pennsylvania visit www.Aligning4healthpa.org. To view the 2011 County Health Rankings visit www.countyhealthrankings.org.

About Aligning Forces for Quality – South Central Pennsylvania
Aligning Forces for Quality – South Central Pennsylvania (AF4Q – South Central PA) is an initiative of Healthy York County Coalition. Since its establishment in 1994, Healthy York County Coalition (HYCC) has worked to bring together stakeholders from across the community and to unite them in health and wellness efforts. Our Aligning Forces for Quality – South Central Pennsylvania initiative created in 2007, works to improve the care that individuals with chronic disease currently receive. It also conducted the I Can! Challenge, a 12-week challenge developed to give people the direction and support for improving their health. For more information on AF4Q – South Central PA, visit www.aligning4healthpa.org.

For more information regarding this press release, please contact Megan Kurtz at Megan@suasion.us or 717-432-2468.

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