Innovative Health Care Access: Spotlight on the Year of Health



The Florida Senate Health Policy Committee has begun discussions on overcoming challenges in the state’s healthcare system. Chair Colleen Burton highlighted issues such as overuse of emergency departments, limited rural access, and workforce shortages. Dr. Pete Chang from Tampa General Hospital presented several strategies they’ve implemented, including a collaborative care model to reduce emergency department visits and a Hospital at Home program that has significantly reduced readmission rates.

Florida Senate Addresses Health Care Challenges

In what’s dubbed the “year of health care,” the Senate Health Policy Committee of Florida initiated discussions on the state’s health care system issues. Chaired by Colleen Burton, the committee shed light on concerns like Emergency Department overuse, limited rural access, and workforce deficits.

Introducing Innovative Approaches

Dr. Pete Chang, a senior executive from Tampa General Hospital (TGH), informed the committee about multiple strategies TGH has implemented to enhance access to top-tier care.

Addressing Emergency Department Overutilization

Overreliance on Emergency Departments has been a big concern in the US health care system, impacting patient outcomes and health care costs. To tackle this, TGH, in collaboration with Florida Blue, launched Urgent Care at Home to assist Florida Blue members with high ED usage. This innovative approach saw 80% of participants avoiding ED visits, thanks to care navigation, coordination, and at-home diagnostics, as reported by Chang.

Spotlight on Tampa General Hospital’s Programs

Dr. Chang also shared updates on TGH’s Hospital at Home program. This initiative provides expert care and advanced technology to cater to the personalized needs and safety of patients. It boasts a significant drop in readmission rates to 3.6%, compared to the average in-hospital patient rate of 18-20%.

Improving Specialty Access

In addition to these programs, Chang highlighted TGH’s HealthPark facility. This hospital-based clinic, staffed by USF physicians, offers a myriad of specialty services, including pediatrics, obstetrics, gastroenterology, and oncology. It also provides additional resources like a patient experience call center, a food pantry, and a sustainable garden to help support a healthier lifestyle for patients.

Chang emphasized the potential of technology in increasing access to care. He believes that while there’s a need for more physicians, efficient implementation of technologies can significantly improve health care access.

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