New Year, New Us: HCGC Is Now Health Impact Ohio
By: Carrie Baker, President and CEO
The Healthcare Collaborative of Greater Columbus (HCGC) is excited to announce that we are rebranding in 2022. Over the next few months, thanks to the innovative thinking of our Board of Directors, we will transition to Health Impact Ohio.
Since 1999, this organization, originally known as Access HealthColumbus, has evolved with the ever-changing landscape of health and healthcare in the region. We have enjoyed a very rich history of collaboration with Columbus and Central Ohio partners and catalyzed that work and those successful outcomes to broaden our reach and impact across Ohio. Health Impact Ohio as a name reflects and aligns with the work that we do, focusing on optimal health outcomes for all individuals in every community. And yet our roots, our organization location and frankly our hearts will always stay firmly grounded in the Central Ohio Region first and foremost. We invite you to learn more about our impact and evolution by reading our 2021 Impact Report.
Becoming Health Impact Ohio
Over the last 5 years it has truly been my honor to serve, sustain and help the growth of this incredible organization. Even in dealing with “change fatigue” we are all facing given recent times, HCGC has allowed me, personally and professionally, to see a bigger picture, to understand both and/or often multiple (!) sides of the proverbial coin when it comes to health and healthcare from individual, community and regional perspectives. I am grateful to see firsthand the brilliance of a neutral, community-created, collective impact nonprofit that serves, without bias, to bring every type of (often competing) health, healthcare, and community entities together.
In convening these amazing partners, we not only increase access and share, spread, scale and track efficacy of best practices in a way that lifts everyone up, but also, we work to address gaps from a big-picture point of view. HCGC and our partners address these gaps without blame or defensiveness, but instead with an eye toward increasing equity, trust, and data-driven collaboration to meet better outcomes, to reduce duplication, variation, costs all while enhancing health and healthcare quality and all consumers’ experience. Each day, our staff team wakes knowing we all get to work for an organization that is a “kick-starter” to attaining optimal health from a “systems” approach.
Given the changes we are all facing, as we reflected with our staff and Board Leadership on this organization’s goals and work over the last 23, then the last 5 years, and most especially when looking at our last 2 years at HCGC, we realized that times of major change have created exciting innovation and evolution for our small non-profit. As we looked ahead to our mission and vision in 2022 and beyond, we all kept coming back to the impact we have been so proud to make in the Columbus region and how that impact has spread across Ohio, through partnerships and collaboration with so many incredible organizations. We know our work in Central Ohio is and always will be our foundation. AND we all see tangible opportunities to do better, do more to reach more communities.
Given all of this, the official decision to rebrand to Health Impact Ohio was approved by our Board of Directors in late December 2021. A rebrand like this allows us to enter 2022 with an even more determined focus on improving social drivers of health, health equity, access, and healthcare quality through community engagement and partnership; multi-stakeholder training and coaching; data collection and integration; and strategy development and deployment. It is vitally important that our organization’s name, mission and vision, as well as our new strategic plan reflect where we have been, where we are now, and where we can build and support more areas in Ohio. I personally am so excited to continue our work with you to meet our common goals now and in the future.
Statewide Project Work
HCGC, now Health Impact Ohio, been awarded a 3-year, $15 million dollar per year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to manage a statewide, comprehensive initiative to engage Community Health Workers (CHWs) around the state to provide coordinated connection to COVID-19 education, care, and social services. The project will expand CHW’s participation in the overall public health response through case investigation, COVID-19 related education and information sharing, and most importantly, CHWs roles in eliminating barriers to accessing the COVID-19 vaccine.
The CDC initiative, titled Community Health Workers for COVID Response and Resilient Communities (CCR) will provide funding via Health Impact Ohio to 11 Pathways Community HUBs (PCHs) regions across the state. Each PCH is a member of the Ohio Network of Certified Community Pathways HUBs and, combined, are subcontracted with more than 70 community-based organizations called Care Coordination Agencies (CCAs) within their respective regions. There are currently 205 CHWs working in PCHs across the state who will expand COVID-19 care resource coordination through the CCR initiative.
Our Community Health Worker Certification program staff is working to provide access to our program to a statewide audience, already welcoming participants from past courses to join our CDC CCR trainings as a part of their practicum placement. Going forward, we will welcome CHWs from all around the state to receive their certification from our program, as well as participate in future CDC CCR trainings.
Another exciting statewide project that we are engaged in is the Heart Healthy Ohio Initiative (HHOI). Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and operated by lead investigators at MetroHealth in Cleveland, HHOI aims to improve cardiovascular health for all Ohioans by reducing health disparities, improving blood pressure control, and reducing smoking rates through interventions in primary care settings. In this, our second year of the grant, we are working with statewide partners to coach and track healthcare quality improvements at the practice level in 55 practices across Ohio.
And, last but NEVER least, we always look forward to continuing collaborating with Ohio’s other Regional Healthcare Improvement Collaboratives (RHICs), Better Health Partnership in Cleveland and The Health Collaborative in Cincinnati, both of whom are making incredible local, regional, and statewide impacts themselves. We work in partnership with them to fill gaps in respective content expertise and collaborate to learn from one another. In June 2022, our three RHICs we will hold a joint conference in Columbus, open to all physicians, nurses, practice managers, and other providers across Ohio with a focus on The Future of Healthcare from the perspectives of equity, quality, workforce, payment, and policy. Registration information will be coming soon!
Change and evolution from upheaval can be a challenge-we all face these new challenges each day in all facets of our lives. More importantly, it is a unique opportunity to recommit to what each of us values most and evolve to meet the time and the need. I am so grateful and excited to continue working at HCGC, now Health Impact Ohio, and with you all: our Board of Directors, Columbus Medical Association and its Affiliates, our Central Ohio social service agencies and local health departments, the state agencies who have continued welcoming our participation and input, our national partners like Civitas Networks for Health (our national affiliate), Partners in Health, as well as our fellow RHICs and Community Pathways HUBs across the state.
We hope you stay tuned as we roll out our rebrand over the next few months, and as always, please reach out with any opportunities or great ideas to work in partnership!