The mission of the Jackson County Health Department (JCHD) is to create and promote a healthy community through disease prevention and control. JHN leadership recognized the value of collaboration with JCHD to address population health in Jackson County. To ensure strong and continued collaboration, HFAH and JHN have partnered with JCHD to develop a shared leadership model for local public health. This includes a shared Health Officer position that reports to the CEO of JHN/VP, HFAH Population Health in addition to the Jackson County Administrator. HFAH and JHN have also been providing Medical Director services to the County for the last several years. This adds great value to our population health improvement efforts by facilitating further integration of health care and public health services. Lastly, JCHD’s adoption of the Epic shared community Electronic Health Record to document screenings, treatments and referrals helps ensure seamless transitions of care and efficient collaboration.
Another critical component of the partnership is JCHD’s participation in the Jackson Care Hub social determinants of health (SDOH) screening and referral system. As part of this community-wide collaboration, JCHD and JHN service providers administer screening to patients to identify unmet social needs, such as food insecurity, housing instability and transportation challenges, in addition to physical and mental health needs. Through the integration between Epic and Jackson Care Hub, patients can be electronically referred to community service providers and navigators to assist with their social needs, and clinical providers can see the outcomes of the referrals.
Public health impacts the quality of life in our community and works to protect a shared population. When public health fails, the population may suffer, making close collaboration a vital element in JHN’s population management strategy. The JCHD partners with JHN to respond to important public safety and health-related issues as they occur. Key public health information is communicated with practices through JHN’s monthly rounding visits, email communication and presentations at practice manager collaborative meetings. JCHD and JHN have also partnered on communications to employers, other stakeholders and the community-at-large. This partnership has been even more critical this year during COVID response, as both parties worked in tandem to develop standard protocols and processes and disseminate real-time information about disease burden, guidelines and services.