Be Well: MetroHealth's Plan To Improve Community Health With A New Campus

MetroHealth's Dr. Akram Boutros says, "We have a kind of a possible vision. We actually call this "What’s Possible."
MetroHealth's Dr. Akram Boutros says, "We have a kind of a possible vision. We actually call this "What’s Possible."

MetroHealth leaders say improving the health care of those who live in Cuyahoga County is part of building a new hospital campus and revitalizing the surrounding West 25th Street neighborhood.

As a county-owned hospital, MetroHealth receives an annual $36 million subsidy from taxpayers for caring for patients and all of its buildings are technically owned by the county. When MetroHealth's Chief Executive Dr. Akram Boutros talked about building a new campus, he connected the new construction to needed improvements in countywide health outcomes.

"We must move our county from 65th place out of 88 counties in Ohio, to the top of the list. MetroHealth has been on this journey for some time now, mostly quietly and alone," Boutros says.

One thing to keep in mind is that MetroHealth's leaders are starting from the ground up. Most of the buildings on the campus have "outlived their useful life," according to an analysis of the campus. That means a complete overhaul.

A lot of the decisions about, say, how many beds to build and how many offices or rehabilitation rooms to build really depend on the care you plan on providing there.

"So, patient centered health care is the key. So you start with the patient, what's the patient need, when do they need it, where do they need it, and what sort of things and then you organize everything around that," MetroHealth Board Member J.B. Silvers.

MetroHealth will continue to deliver high risk babies and provide trauma and emergency to the region. But the hospital also has a track record of improving the health of people who lack the money and ability to take care of themselves.

To build on this, MetroHealth has a few programs out in the community. One is putting health centers inside the Cleveland's schools - to try to reach families in a place that is convenient. Another is a contract with the county jail, to improve the health of those folks while they're in jail but also to work with them after they are released into the community. During an interview before the announcement, Boutros basically described this as population health management.

"You know, Sarah we know we can make a difference in populations. Alone we know we can. I think, together we can create a transformation," Boutros says.

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