The AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust affiliate is leading a study to identify the key factors that facilitate performance improvement and process re-engineering in safety-net hospitals. “Vulnerable patient populations, including the poor, uninsured and those with multiple chronic conditions, have complex health needs exacerbated by social determinants such as food insecurity, unstable housing and lack of transportation,” notes Jay Bhatt, D.O., HRET president and AHA chief medical officer, in an AHA Stat blog post on the study. “In the United States, safety-net hospitals deliver care to a significant number of these patients. Yet safety-net hospitals may have relatively fewer resources than other health care organizations, creating unique challenges to becoming high-performing organizations. Recognizing these challenges and the ongoing need to improve care delivery within the U.S. health care safety net, the AHA Board of Trustees created the Task Force on Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities. Supporting the work of safety-net hospitals also aligns with the AHA’s Path Forward, which focuses on a commitment to access, value, partners, well-being and coordination to advance health for everyone in America.” Partners in the study, funded by The Commonwealth Fund, include NORC at the University of Chicago and a national advisory council of stakeholders and experts.

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