Improve Constantly

To achieve our vision and mission, our health system must continue to improve and adapt to the ever-changing healthcare environment. The information below illustrates leadership in governance, access, patient care and efficiency.

New Governance Structure

As you know, health care is changing. As an industry, we are moving from a fee-for-service to a value-based environment. Such change requires us to think and act differently. For example, we will no longer be paid based on the number of services we provide. Instead, we will be rewarded based on our performance and ability to achieve the Triple Aim—improve health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs and enhance the patient experience across populations.

As a result, GHS is changing its governance structure so that it can remain a public not-for-profit that is part of a larger, private not-for-profit health company. This change gives GHS the flexibility it needs to explore partnerships with other entities while continuing to deliver high-quality patient care in a rapidly changing medical world.

Under this new structure, GHS remains a public entity but leases its properties to the Upstate Affiliate Organization, a private-not-for-profit that provides day-to-day oversight and management. The Upstate Affiliate Organization, and any other affiliates that join the healthcare company, reports to the Strategic Coordinating Organization (SCO), a private, not-for-profit that provides strategic direction and corporate services for all affiliates. Mike Riordan heads the SCO; Spence Taylor, MD, serves as president of GHS.

As with our previous structure, the new governance structure remains responsible and accountable to our patients, payors and community. Rest assured that we will continue to care for patients regardless of their ability to pay. And we will continue to strive to meet the Triple Aim and provide all patients the right care at the right time in the right place.

To learn more, visit ghs.org/governance.

Setting the PACE for Senior Care

This spring, Greenville Health System opened GHS Senior Care, a Medicare program for people over age 55. The program provides community-based care and services for those who would otherwise need nursing home-level care. It is one of three such programs in the state and the first in the Upstate.

Based on the PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) model, the program is centered on the belief that the best outcomes for seniors with chronic conditions happen when they are served in their community—and that taking preventive measures can help avoid some problems. Services include primary care, dentistry, emergency services, home care and hospital care, as well as meals, nutrition counseling and occupational and physical therapy.

Currently, 18 participants are enrolled in Senior Care. Half live alone and half live with family or other caregivers. All are Medicare and Medicaid eligible.

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Adolescent & Young Adult Oncology Program

The Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program is for cancer survivors diagnosed and treated between ages 15-38 and people treated for childhood cancer who now are those same ages. The program connects patients to clinical trials, genetic counselors, reproductive and fertility experts, and other resources specific and unique to the AYA population.

The program’s format is similar to GHS’ oncology MDCs. The primary oncologist places an AYA Oncology consult. The patient then meets with the multidisciplinary AYA team where the unique medical, social, financial and psychologic needs of that patient will be assessed. Recommendations on AYA-specific and personalized support services and resources will be provided to the patient and the primary treating physician. The AYA Oncology team will continue to follow the patient as well.

This program will maintain an AYA registry with the ultimate hope that patients will participate as survivors in the Lifetime Clinic at the Cancer Institute.

Worth Its Salt: Non-surgical Weight Loss

Hillcrest Memorial Hospital is first in the Upstate to use ORBERA, a two-part weight-loss system that uses a special balloon to occupy space in the stomach. The balloon is inserted non-invasively and then filled with saline until it’s about the size of a grapefruit; the intent is to reinforce proper portion control and to delay the stomach emptying so that patients eat less and feel full longer. The procedure takes 20-30 minutes, and people usually go home that day.

Once the balloon is in place, the 12-month coaching part of the program begins, which includes a medically supervised diet and exercise plan. After six months, the balloon is deflated and removed.

ORBERA is placed in obese adult patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30-40 who have been unable to lose weight through diet and exercise. Because the balloon is temporary, ORBERA focuses on developing sustainable, healthy habits that will keep weight off permanently.

Studies show that ORBERA can deliver more than three times the weight loss of diet and exercise alone. The majority of loss occurs in the first three months.

Picture This: 3-D Mammography

The Department of Radiology now offers 3-D mammography—advanced breast tomosynthesis technology that can increase detecting breast cancers while decreasing callback rates.

In conventional 2-D mammography, overlapping tissue is a leading reason why small breast cancers may be missed and normal tissue appear abnormal. 3-D tomosynthesis reduces tissue overlap by taking multiple images and converting them into thin layers that a radiologist can review one layer at a time. This exam requires no additional compression and takes just a few seconds longer than a conventional screening.

3-D mammography is recommended for women of all ages and breast density (especially dense tissue). It is covered by Medicare and some insurance plans.

High Marks for Low Vision

dsc_0216_1The GHS Eye Institute offers a comprehensive low-vision program for patients with eye conditions that have caused progressive vision loss which cannot be medically treated. Services include low-vision exams and therapeutic devices, such as custom items like telescopic lenses.

This program can serve patients with stable low vision (not expected to worsen) and progressive low vision (can worsen to near or total blindness). Patients who may benefit from low-vision care range from older adults with retinal conditions to children with congenital disorders.

The Eye Institute has the only dedicated low-vision program in the Upstate with on-site access to therapeutic aids. To read one woman’s eye-opening experience with low-vision services, read the full article in the Fall 2016 issue of Inside Health.

Epic News Continues

Epic is an electronic medical record (EMR) and billing system that began being piloted in outpatient practices in 2015. Ultimately, this software will combine GHS’ many different EMRs into one enterprise-wide medical record, reducing redundancy and improving continuity of care for patients.

In February, Epic go-live took place for the most of our inpatient settings. Laurens and Oconee hospitals will implement their Epic go-live in October.

When Epic rollout is complete, inpatient and outpatient visits will be available in the same EMR, along with imaging and lab results. Up-to-date patient problem lists and medication reconciliations also will be available. Clinical information, registration, patient scheduling and billing will be on the same efficient system. And all clinical information can be shared effectively—and securely—with the entire health community. Thus far, Epic has replaced over 50 disparate systems, and patient records have been securely exchanged with 250+ health systems across 48 states.

New Practices or Expansions

During FY 2016, the system established or acquired several practices, increasing patients’ access to primary or specialty care. In some cases, mergers occurred.

New or expanded GHS practices include the following:

  • Blue Ridge Orthopaedics–Easley
  • Center for Pediatric Medicine–West
  • GHS Eye Institute–Spartanburg
  • GHS Internal Medicine–Laurens
  • Heritage Internal Medicine & Pediatrics–Wren (formerly in cooperation with Baptist Easley)
  • Hillcrest Family Practice
  • Pediatric Associates–Simpsonville
  • Pediatric Infusion Therapy
  • Psychiatry (10 Patewood Drive)
  • Spartanburg Outpatient Center (pediatric specialty practices and pediatric therapies)

Other expansions of note include adding more on-site medical clinics in upstate businesses, opening more Prosthetics & Orthotics offices, and increasing the number of Upstate Pharmacy sites and of ATI physical therapy locations.

We also welcome the medical staffs of Laurens County Memorial Hospital and of Oconee Memorial Hospital, who joined the GHS Medical Staff this spring. Although some physicians already had joint membership with GHS, this unification added 78 doctors from Laurens and 175 from Oconee to the GHS Medical Staff roster.


2016 Annual Report Table of Contents