July 9, 2024
News Release

Barbara Laughon
(760) 873-5811 ext. 3415 [email protected]


Northern Inyo Healthcare District embraces
outpatient focus for future growth

Northern Inyo Healthcare District (NIHD) continues undertaking a multi-phase process to right-size and improve its operations to benefit its communities.  Chief Executive and Financial Officer Stephen DelRossi shared that while the District has made significant progress away from bankruptcy and stabilized its finances, new challenges are on the horizon, with a shift toward a more outpatient-centric operations model, referred to as value-based healthcare.

Value-based healthcare ties the amount healthcare providers earn for services to the outcomes they deliver for patients. It replaces the fee-for-service system most rural healthcare facilities, including NIHD, have operated under for decades. Post-pandemic healthcare executives have struggled with rising expenses and lagging reimbursement rates. Nationwide, this struggle has accelerated the adoption of value-based care models.

The clock is ticking, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services aim to enroll most Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in these programs within six years. At NIHD, approximately 45 percent of patients are Medicare beneficiaries, and approximately 20 percent are Medicaid beneficiaries.

For patients, value-based care means an enhanced focus on their health and well-being. This model encourages preventative care and chronic disease management, reducing the need for costly emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Patients can expect more coordinated and personalized care, with healthcare providers working together to achieve the best possible outcomes. Advocates say this leads to improved patient satisfaction and better health results.

For healthcare providers and staff, the shift to value-based care means a fundamental change in how they approach patient care. Providers must focus more on long-term patient outcomes, emphasizing preventative care, chronic disease management, and patient education. This model requires enhanced collaboration among healthcare teams to ensure comprehensive and coordinated patient care. Staff must adapt to new workflows and possibly adopt new technologies to track and report patient outcomes effectively. Ultimately, this transition aims to improve job satisfaction by aligning provider incentives with patient health, fostering a more rewarding and impactful work environment.

As NIHD embraces the transition to a more outpatient-focused environment, DelRossi sees an exciting opportunity for growth and innovation, with the community playing a vital role. This evolution will require continuous reassessment, fostering an adaptive and dynamic approach among District staff.

“I consistently remind our staff that NIHD must evolve with these and other changes around us so we can continue to provide exceptional healthcare to our communities for the next decade and beyond,” DelRossi said. “By doing so, we honor the legacy of those who came before us and ensure a sustainable future for our healthcare services, with the community as our partners.”

NIHD will host its next quarterly Community Town Hall on Thursday, July 25, at 5:30 p.m. The online session will touch on NIHD’s finances, growth, and strategic plan. A question-and-answer period will follow.

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