Q&A: Mountain States Health CEO on Patient-Centered Care

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , October 17, 2012

Next spring, Mountain States Health Alliance will accept the National Quality Forum's 19th annual Quality Healthcare Award for meeting quality-focused goals and achievements.

Since 1990, MSHA President/CEO Dennis Vonderfecht, has led the Johnson City, TN-based health system that serves 29-counties in a mountainous four-state region that includes Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky.

Vonderfecht recently spoke with HealthLeaders Media about the health system's decade-long journey toward patient-centered care.

HL: When did MSHA adopt the patient-centered care model?

I had about 10 years ago been reading quite a bit about patient-centered care and some leading edge organizations that were implementing that primarily on the West Coast. I became interested in it to see if it did make a difference in how we related to our patients. I took about 14 or so of our key leadership to the West Coast to visit a couple of hospitals.

They were among the first in the nation to do this. I felt like our group going there and interfacing with the leadership of those two organizations would really tell us if there was a difference or not. We did see a difference and we were very impressed.

We came back and formed a steering committee and from that we developed our patient-centered care philosophy statement and the 10 Guiding Principles. Over time we've done a lot with that.

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