Pandemic response underscored the need and value of collaboration

    submitted by Bucks County Health Improvement Partnership (BCHIP)

    Your healthcare leaders across Bucks County work together in the best interest of residents from around the region through an unsung hero of care coordination known as the Bucks County Health Improvement Partnership (BCHIP).  While competitors in some respects, our six hospitals put aside our differences when it comes to finding and addressing the broad healthcare needs of our community.

    In partnership with the Bucks County Department of Health, we come together via BCHIP regularly to identify gaps in services and identify resources to address these gaps. Collaboration is still possible in this competitive landscape, and we remain connected – and have been since BCHIP’s founding more than 25 years ago – to work in the best interest of our neighbors.

    BCHIP’s value to our community was in full force throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Through BCHIP, we were able to strategize vaccine clinics and connect with our most vulnerable community members.  Through regular meetings, we shared data and best-practice information to tackle the needs of our patients and colleagues. The sharing and cooperation during the pandemic were unprecedented.

    BCHIP assisted the county with vetting over 800 volunteers to support COVID-19 clinics, assisted with scheduling over 5,000 vaccines at hospital and county locations, and assisted with COVID-19 test kit distribution led by our county partners. The overall importance of collaboration and what impact it has on public health of the community is exactly what BCHIP’s mission is set to work toward. Providing a leadership role in Bucks County, we believe that we should build and maintain internal and external partnerships to address health challenges, including effectively utilizing resources, solving problems, and building relationships.

    As we look to the future, we are focused on several efforts, including offering COVID-19 vaccines and boosters through the Bucks County Immunization Coalition to seniors at our county’s senior centers, day care centers and homebound residents; the Bucks County Connect. Assess. Refer. Engage. Support (BCARES) program – a warm handoff collaboration between the six hospitals’ emergency departments and an assigned Certified Recovery Specialist for individuals who have survived an opioid overdose; a partnership to provide leadership for coordination and standardization of information and resources for the Bucks County Long Term Care community; an Advance Care Planning program to help community members complete end-of-life documents at no cost with trained facilitators; and a free, five-session quit smoking program offered at all county hospitals. This is only a small list of our efforts.

    BCHIP is the prime example of the power and impact of organizations collaborating to support community health. The residents of Bucks County count on our continued collaboration with our community founders and partners, and we hold ourselves accountable to our commitments and make measurable progress to achieve our mission. Not only is finding common ground possible, but it is necessary to further enhance the health of our community.

    We have seen our community benefit in many ways through the power of BCHIP, and we value being trusted and collaborative partners. We encourage other organizations to collaborate with us to continue improving the health status of our community.

    James Brexler, President & CEO, Doylestown Health;

    David Damsker, Director, Bucks County Department of Health;
    Doug Hughes, President & CEO, Grand View Health;
    Michael Magro Jr, President, St. Mary Medical Center;
    Marion Mass, Bucks County Medical Society;
    Michael Motte, CEO, Lower Bucks Hospital;
    Dennis Pflieger, President, St. Luke’s University Health; Network – Upper Bucks Campus.

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