Research shows that 80% of health outcomes are driven by factors outside the walls of the hospital. As a Hospital Authority, the FDHA is uniquely positioned to work with stakeholders in the hospital system and “beyond the walls” of the hospital in community settings.
It is through our shared work with community-based partners from various sectors, that we address health disparities and work to end health inequities. Through funded cooperative agreements, we work collaboratively with health and housing providers, the faith based communities and host of actors whose efforts intersect with issues of access to and the social determinants of health.
In communities throughout the country and around the world, faith-based institutions have served as “safe spaces” for people seeking support, comfort and even healing. According to the Pew Research Center, 91% of Black Americans say religion is “somewhat” or “very important” in their lives. Therefore, engaging faith-based institutions as partners and trusted messengers in support of targeted community health promotion, awareness, and education initiatives, increases the likelihood that populations at high risk of illness are connected to resources.
It takes the collective efforts of multiple organizations from various sectors working together to address the many health and social challenges that vulnerable, underserved and under resourced individuals face daily. Through the coordinated efforts of our partners, the FDHA seeks to close gaps in the Fulton/DeKalb continuum of prevention and care in the health ecosystem.
The FDHA and our partners at Grady, recognize that most of the factors that impact individual and community health outcomes occur outside the walls of the hospital. We further acknowledge that ensuring that all residents of Fulton and DeKalb have access to fair and equitable health resources requires moving beyond the walls of the hospital. The FDHA is committed to working with those agencies that respond to the economic and social conditions that influence individual and group health status, also known as the social determinants of health.
The Lease Transfer Agreement clearly states The FDHA’s responsibility for ensuring that all facilities currently operated by Grady are properly maintained and operated. This mandate goes beyond functioning as a landlord, but rather speaks to an expected standard of care for all. The FDHA and Grady must work collaboratively to ensure that all Grady facilities go beyond the minimum standard of “fit for use” so that the quality of Grady facilities is consistent with that of any other high-functioning hospitals.
The most recent pandemic brought gaping healthcare disparities to light. As Georgia’s larg- est safety net hospital (and only safety net hospital in Metro Atlanta due to the closure of Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center), Grady continues to see increased service demands. Often, the medically indigent and underserved use the emergency room for primary care services. Issues like housing insecurity and poverty place additional strain on the Grady Health System, particularly when other factors (outside of the hospital walls) inform one’s overall wellbeing. As Grady continues to seek ways to improve health outcomes in the community, The FDHA is tasked with identifying innovative ways to support Grady’s efforts and broaden its reach into targeted sectors of the community. This pillar also speaks to The FDHA’s efforts to work collaboratively through grantmaking with organizations whose mission, vision, and work align with The FDHA’s priorities and goals. Through structured strategic partnerships, focused and aligned grant making, and ongoing community engagement, The FDHA will assume a leadership role in the health ecosystem.
There are many stakeholders within the Fulton/DeKalb health ecosystem. Stakeholders can be characterizedas individuals, groups, or organizations whose efforts either inform healthcare outcomes or are impacted by healthcare outcomes. Grady remains The FDHA’s most important partner in this effort and a key stakeholder in the health ecosystem. As the daily operators of all of Grady’s health facilities, hundreds of thousands of patients per year (more than 700,000) are impacted. Maintaining consistent communication and collaboration with Grady’s Executive Leadership Team and staff is central to the success of The FDHA.
Similarly, The FDHA’s alignment and support of Grady’s population health and community engagement efforts are invaluable. As a grantor, The FDHA has an extensive network of community-based partners that work daily to provide direct services and/or support various health priorities. Many of these organizations provide services directly related to social determinants of health (i.e., housing, education, transportation, etc.) thereby adding value to the continuum of care. As The FDHA seeks to embrace a more prominent role as a convener, organizer, and facilitator in the health ecosystem, engaging stakeholders with purpose and intentionality becomes increasingly important.
The FDHA’s obligations, relative to its role as owners of the facilities operated by Grady and stewards of county resources entrusted to Grady, require the requisite skills of staff to execute key administrative and regulatory functions. Establishing and maintaining a staffing model that adequately responds to the needs of the agency is vital. Of equal importance is the establishment and maintenance of high-functioning financial management systems and general operations controls. Critical front and back-office functions should be insulated from staff turnover or shifts in organizational priorities. The provision of ongoing staff development opportunities will ensure that team members stay abreast of industry standards, best practices, and leading-edge opportunities. In addition, the curation and maintenance of financial management best practices ensure organizational accountability and responsiveness.