AHA Justin Ford Kimball Innovators Award to Recognize Advances Made by Spectrum Health

WASHINGTON, DC (April 20, 2022) – The American Hospital Association (AHA) today announced that the 2021 Justin Ford Kimball Innovators Award will be awarded to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Mich. (now part of BHSH System). The award recognizes people or organizations that have developed or introduced an innovative approach to health care financing and/or health care delivery to improve access or coordination of care. AHA Board Member and President & CEO of BHSH System Tina Freese Decker will accept the award during a ceremony at the AHA Annual Membership Meeting on April 25 in Washington, D.C.

“A pioneer in innovation, Spectrum Health uses cutting-edge strategies to expand access to affordable, high-quality care for patients and decrease health disparities,” said Rick Pollack, AHA president and CEO. “Long before the pandemic, Spectrum Health recognized the vital link that telehealth creates for patients that leads to better quality of life and improved access to care.” Spectrum Health, now part of BHSH System, an integrated health system based in Grand Rapids and Southfield, Mich., with 22 hospitals, a health plan and robust medical groups and physician relationships, has developed a reputation for innovation in delivery as well as financing. Before COVID-19 made telehealth an expected program, Spectrum Health provided site-to-program as well as at-home telehealth. Its associated health plan, Priority Health, serves more than 1.2 million people across Michigan. In the top five provider-sponsored health plans in the country, Priority Health publishes specific, regionalized health care costs and quality information by procedure, facility and physician for more than 300 services.

During the pandemic, Spectrum Health offered area employers a COVID-19 toolkit that included a wealth of resources, including a webpage, a hotline, a symptom checker app and more. The health system also recently committed more than $100 million over 10 years to accelerate and expand efforts to address racial and ethnic health inequities.

Spectrum Health Ventures and Commercial Innovations helps physicians and staff within and beyond the system to identify opportunities for innovation and development and launch unique ideas. In 2017, Spectrum Health formed a venture capital fund to commercialize new technologies, products and services that improve patient health and reduce costs.

In 2011, Spectrum Health established a Center for Integrative Medicine to manage concurrent medical and behavioral health by providing additional services for frequent emergency department users and using bundled payments—with improved function scores, reductions of illicit drug use, reduced prescription medication use and decreased ED use and hospital admissions.

Spectrum Health has been a leader in health equity as well, collaborating with eight agencies to support Strong Beginnings, a federally funded Healthy Start project aimed at improving health status in underserved communities. The program has achieved a 46% decline in Black infant mortality. It also helps clients obtain housing, education and jobs. 


Contact:      Colin Milligan, (202) 638-5491, cmilligan@aha.org
                    Marie Johnson, (202) 626-2351, mjohnson@aha.org

About the American Hospital Association
The American Hospital Association (AHA) is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA advocates on behalf of our nearly 5,000 member hospitals, health systems and other health care organizations, our clinician partners – including more than 270,000 affiliated physicians, 2 million nurses and other caregivers – and the 43,000 health care leaders who belong to our professional membership groups. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides insight and education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.