James Magazine Mar Apr 2020 - Page 33

who have Medicaid, Medicare, the uninsured or those
who are self-pay. We pride ourselves on providing the
same level of care, regardless of your insurance card.
In our 2019 fiscal year, we provided $340 million in
charity care and community benefit programming in
the effort to better the health and well-being of the people in the communities we serve. It is one of the misunderstandings about non-profit healthcare systems such
as Piedmont. We take care of everyone in the community. In fact, less than one-third of our patients are commercially insured.
Does Piedmont support Georgia pursuing federal
Medicaid waivers, and do you support Gov. Brian Kemp’s
effort to obtain these waivers? If so, how does this help
your patients?
BROWN Yes, we are strong supporters of the Medicaid
waivers and Governor Kemp’s leadership in this area. The
waivers will expand access to care for more Georgians
and do so in a fiscally responsible way. Improving access
facilitates better health outcomes and, ultimately, lower
health care costs for all Georgians.
According to a respected grading agency, during
the past three years Piedmont has reduced hospitalacquired infections by 69 percent. Each of Piedmont’s six
legacy hospitals received at least one “A” grade in this
regard. What steps have been taken to achieve this
impressive result?
BROWN Clinical and service quality are the center of our
strategic plan and serve as our top priority at Piedmont. As
a leadership team, discussions regarding quality and the
drive to zero harm consume the vast majority of our time
together. As I like to say, everything else is supporting
cast. Part of the secret to our success has to do with the
modernization of the classic hospital quality department.
Many years ago, we reorganized across the system
and replaced nearly half of the traditional jobs with
process engineers. We then paired these engineers with
our talented clinical staff, and the results speak for themselves. As we redesigned care, we hardwired these new
processes into Epic, our electronic health record, to
ensure long-term, sustained performance. Many of our
clinical outcomes now rival the best in the country. And,
there is no question that our improvements in quality
have played a large role in our efforts to
reduce the cost of care at Piedmont. We
are very proud of the fact that our total
cost of running Piedmont (per unit) is
now less than it was in 2013.
We are also leading in regard to service quality. Last year, we ended the year
with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 80,
which exceeds some of the best known
consumer brands in the country. We have
improved access to care by aggressively
expanding our low-cost quick-care, primary care and urgent care options in comKevin Brown, Patrick Battey, M.D., CEO of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital
munities that represent 70 percent of the
and Charles L. Brown, III, M.D., CEO of Piedmont’s Physician Enterprise.
state’s population. We have also added
low-cost virtual care for anyone, anywhere in Georgia.
standard for clinical care. It will help grow programs,
such as the Marcus Heart and Vascular Center and the
JAMES How do you rate the record of the Georgia General
Piedmont Transplant Institute, which are some of the
Assembly in terms of healthcare issues and what is your
most highly-rated in the country.
view of statewide Certificate of Need (CON) reform?
We appreciate the generosity of our donors in making
us into and keeping us one of the safest systems in the
BROWN Healthcare is one of the most complex and highcountry and one of the best for patient outcomes as well.
ly-regulated industries in the country. Non-profit healthcare is even more complex as, unlike nearly every other
business and some of the for-profit healthcare providers
in the state, our doors are open to everyone. As a result,
two out of every three patients receive free or subsidized
care. Last year this totaled about $340 million at
Piedmont alone.
The principles of non-profit healthcare do not follow
the normal principles of the free-economy and, therefore,
the need for CON. Regardless, the CON laws in the state
were outdated and in need of modernization. Piedmont
supported CON modernization last year and, overall, we
were supportive of the changes. We also support of initiatives to ensure network stability for employers and consumers, to end surprise billing and to create a better legal
environment for healthcare providers, which, as has been
reported in the media, has some support in the legislature.
Are there any other interesting things that our
readers may not know about the Piedmont Healthcare
Many people don’t realize that we’re a nonprofit
system. As such, we rely on philanthropic donations to
help sustain ourselves. For example, The Marcus
Foundation gave us a $75 million donation to help us
make the Piedmont Atlanta Tower a reality. The 16-story
building, when it opens in August, will help us set a new


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