praesidiumn (genitivepraesidiī); second declension
defense, protection, help, aid, assistance
Since I began my career in healthcare IT back in 2001, I’ve had the opportunity to work in and around some of the finest healthcare institutions and caregivers in America; organizations that operate the most specialized and well-funded clinics, hospitals and research facilities in the nation. These are the places where the media gathers to report that miracles are being performed every day, and previously unknown diseases are identified, classified, and cured through ground-breaking research and physician and staff dedication. And yet, for all of the good that was occurring around me, I couldn’t say I was passionate about my role in supporting healthcare. I cared, like so many in our industry do, but did I wake up feeling passion for the work I was performing? Sadly, no.
But then in 2010 I took a position as the Director of the Regional Extension Center for Health IT in Nebraska, and I traveled to the four corners of the State over the span of four years, visiting rural and frontier counties where people were outnumbered by corn and cattle. There, I saw clinicians and administrative staff still performing miracles, only with far less of a budget and under staffing and resource constraints that are unknown to some of my previous employers. I’ve met physicians, administrators, ancillary support staff – all who work the same hours, under the same stressful conditions as their urban peers, but for far less money and publicity. Some of these clinicians would cover multiple counties in a week, putting in the required windshield time to ensure care is given where care was needed.
That’s not unique to rural or frontier America, but the impact of that effort becomes more clearly visible when you strip away the noise of huge enterprise health systems and their franchised approach to healthcare. Unlike in St. Louis or Denver, where the population of each city and their surrounding communities can easily crest one million residents, I now saw first hand the far-reaching impact of one physician working in a community of no more than 650 people. That was powerful, and it was transformative. In fact, in the words of one Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) Director, I had transformed myself into a zealot for rural healthcare – a label I am proud to have earned through countless meetings on the impact of Meaningful Use and other reforms that disproportionately impact rural facilities compared with their urban counterparts.
With the rapid acceleration of new health care reforms, all providers, especially those serving in rural and medically underserved areas, find themselves once again struggling to stay afloat due to the costs associated with new and ongoing Health IT adoption, maintenance, and optimization. Take these costs and compound their impact by factoring in the ever-increasing Medicare Quality Payment Programs (QPPs) penalties, and even the largest health systems will begin to feel their pain. Yet the impact is far greater in our health professional shortage areas (HPSA). We need only read the headlines about another rural hospital or clinic closing to understand that the health of our most vulnerable communities remains at risk.
Praesidio is derived from Latin, and in essence means “for protection”. It embodies the spirit behind why I have created Praesidio Healthcare Consulting – to support and protect the healthcare foundations of our communities from the onslaught of new reforms that require these underfunded and understaffed facilities to digest and implement thousands of pages of regulatory reform and Health IT mandates. These reforms are complex and constantly being updated, and clinicians and healthcare facilities of all sizes need a shield to protect them from this uncertainty.
I have spent the past 16 years learning, implementing, and optimizing the use of “appropriate” Health IT in order to meet both organizational goals and Federal / State regulations for improving the quality of care that is provided to patients, irrespective of location and ability to pay. I am passionate about sharing that knowledge with our communities of care, and I am pleased to say that in my mission, I am joined by a team of both clinical and research experts. Every one of us at Praesidio shares a deep commitment to your success, for we believe strongly that if healthcare fails, so too does the community that it once supported.
I encourage you to learn more about my Team and our Mission, and I welcome any comments and questions you may have about our services and how we can assist you.