Q: Are the health care institutions on Martha’s Vineyard working together?
A: Yes, better than ever. In early September members of the DCHC Primary Care Working Group submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services a Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant application, designed to secure financial support for the strategic planning necessary to create an integrated primary care network addressing medical, behavioral and oral health. Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is the lead agency. Other applicants include MV Community Services, the Wampanoag Tribe, the Foundation for Island Health, the Whole Health Alliance and the On-Call Pediatric and Vineyard Medical Group. The applicants are committed to forming a network that is as inclusive as possible. As a result, the application was “enthusiastically supported” by Island Health Inc, the Vineyard Health Care Access Program and the Vineyard Nursing Agency, who are currently the recipients of a Rural Health Outreach Grant that is funding the launch of the new Rural Health Clinic.
This application was a first in the almost 10-year life of the Council and represents a major step forward in fulfilling our Mission.
Q: Can we create a shared vision of health and health care on Martha’s Vineyard?
A: Yes. If we did not believe that, the Health Council, the Foundation and Island Health…to say nothing of the Hospital, Community Services and the other members of the Health Council…would not be fulfilling our respective missions. Speaking for the Health Council, our A1 objective is to confront the issues that stand in the way of articulating that vision.
Q: What does an “integrated health care system” mean?
A: While this implies tighter working relationships between health care practitioners, provider organizations and community health organizations, it is increasingly clear that what we are really talking about is a more:
- Network of care
… above all, from the perspective of the patient.
Q: How is the community at large given a voice in all of this?
A: The initial findings of the MV Health Report, which were unveiled last summer, have begun to give the community a voice that will hold all of us accountable.
In addition, a series of six Community Health Forums is currently being planned by the League of Women Voters, in partnership with the Dukes County Health Council, the Foundation for Island Health, Island Health Inc. and Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. These forums will provide a unique opportunity for hard-hitting discussions in which off-Island and on-Island experts, Vineyard health care clinicians, and Vineyard residents…both part-time and year-round…can talk about improving the health care system here.
Q: Why now?
A: We are confronted with a “once in a generation opportunity” to broaden our vision of health and health care on Martha’s Vineyard:
- Beginning with the plans to build a new hospital at MVH,
- But also with capital campaigns and strategic planning being undertaken by a number of other leading institutions,
- To say nothing of the new influx of federal funds to support the development of a Rural Health Clinic.
Q: What guidelines will you use in an effort to resolve the obvious conflicts that can emerge between individual providers?
A: Above all, we must do not harm. What is in the interest of the Island, taken as a whole, must be overriding!