HEALTH DEPARTMENT: ALIGN DIRECT SERVICES WITH LOCAL HOSPITALS

3-A
HEALTH DEPARTMENT: ALIGN DIRECT SERVICES WITH LOCAL HOSPITALS

 

Problem Identification:
For some citizens there is a stigma associated with visiting City-operated health services clinics. Additionally, the City’s operation of a network of direct service clinics is expensive and might represent a failure to make full use of existing facility capacity within Baltimore’s private health care community.

Recommended Action:
Align the Department’s direct health service delivery centers with local hospitals.

Classification:
Cost Savings, Organizational, Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
All Departmental Operations

Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated

Estimated Implementation Cost:
Not Determined

Barriers to Implementation:
None

Projected Implementation:
Ongoing

Next Steps:
Evaluate the Department’s current space needs and pursue planning meetings with local hospitals and other health service providers to discuss opportunities for co-locating clinics at existing private facilities.

Analysis:
At the onset of the Greater Baltimore Committee/ Presidents’ Roundtable Management and Efficiency Review, the Department operated six clinics and one administration site. During the course of the project, the Department also opened a citywide men’s health center. Plans are underway for two additional community-based centers in the Park Heights and Historic East Baltimore communities.

As has been previously described in this report (see Recommendation 1-C), the majority of Department-funded services are provided by third parties through contract with the City. This is consistent with a long-evolving public health trend to reduce the scope of services that are directly provided by public entities, the most notable local example occurring in 1983 when operation of the Baltimore City Hospital was turned over to Johns Hopkins in 1983.

Given the Department’s reliance on third-party providers and the extensive network of private hospitals in Baltimore, strong consideration should be given to pursuing strategic partnerships that would align the Department’s clinics and administrative offices with local hospitals.

One specific opportunity for facility consolidation is already identified in this report (see Recommendation 7-G). By occupying less space, the Department can achieve cost savings via reduced building maintenance, security, and utility costs and make City-owned facilities available for commercial or residential development. Perhaps more importantly aligning City clinics with local hospitals could upgrade the overall quality of care by providing services in more modern facilities, spurring more extensive collaborative efforts, facilitating resource and data sharing, and potentially diminishing the stigma some associate with visiting Department-operated clinics.