Few would argue that health care needs transformational change. Thanks to the efforts of Genesis Health System, to our region's dedicated physicians, and to a cadre of strong community partners, we will be part of that transformation. We are using the power of philanthropy to help individuals throughout our region improve their health through preventive care and better lifestyle choices.
Understanding the health care system
The current health care system focuses on treating chronic patients when their conditions become critical. That is, when an asthma attack strikes and the patient experiences respiratory distress or a cancerous tumor causes undeniable symptoms.
Likewise, the current pay-for-service system incentivizes physicians and hospitals to order more and more medical tests and use more advanced technologies to diagnose and treat these diseases. These tests increase the cost of care without necessarily improving patient care or improving the quality of the patient's life. Chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes are costly, and they diminish quality of life. Helping patients better manage their chronic health concerns – or better yet, preventing these chronic diseases in the first place – forms the foundation of our population health approach – a new, more effective way of providing health care.
Our approach reaches patients before their conditions become critical
Chronic diseases can often be prevented and are manageable. For example, Genesis employs specially-trained health coaches to work with diabetic patients to teach them how to control their condition. The coaches connect their patients with services they'll need to comply with their treatment. The patients then experience fewer diabetic crises and hospitalizations by taking control of their disease. Genesis Philanthropy, through a network of donors and volunteers, helps individuals access screenings, education and other services, like health coaches, that lead to improved health and wellness.
What are the potential outcomes
- Patients live longer and healthier lives
- The cost of care decreases
- Communities realize economic efficiencies
- Tax payers save millions of dollars in health care costs, disability, and lost productivity
The Region at Issue: The Greater Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois
In terms of health, our community health needs assessment shows we're falling short of state and national averages. And while the human costs of chronic disease are enormous, the economic costs are also huge.
- With nine counties in Iowa and seven counties in Illinois, there are nearly 400,000 people who call this area home.
- One million Iowans have at least one chronic disease costing the economy $7.5 billion annually.
- In Illinois, chronic diseases account for 7 in 10 deaths, and treatment for chronic diseases costs the state as much as $12.5 billion a year.
- The age of the average citizen in this area is older than the national average.
- There are high numbers in the following categories:
- Diabetes Prevalence
- Obesity Rates
- Smoking Rates
- Low Rates of Pre-natal Care
- High Rates of Vaccine Preventable Diseases