The MetroHealth System is an essential health system committed to providing health care to everyone in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and improving the health of the community overall. Its 7,200 employees deliver care to everyone at its main campus, just west of downtown Cleveland, and at more than 25 other MetroHealth locations. It also provides health care at more than 40 additional sites in Cuyahoga County through community partnerships such as the School Health Program.
MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s only verified Level I Adult Trauma Center and Level II Pediatric Trauma Center, and it is one of two adult and pediatric burn centers in the state of Ohio verified by the American Burn Association and the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons. In the past year, MetroHealth provided more than one million patient visits in its hospital and health centers. MetroHealth also is an academic medical center committed to teaching and research; each of its active physicians holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. MetroHealth has earned Magnet status, which places it in the top six percent of all hospitals nationwide for nursing excellence.
MetroHealth’s mission is, “Leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery and teamwork.” For more information, visit metrohealth.org.
In 2013, MetroHealth established an Office of Patient Experience (OPX), including a new Patient- and Family-Centered Care (PFCC) program. Within a year, the OPX implemented Pathways to Patient Experience, a four-hour training program for MetroHealth's 6700 medical providers and staff. It was the power of patient stories featured in patient videos at this training that spurred MetroHealth to establish a Patient and Family Advisory (PFA) task force in 2014. The goal was to partner with patient and family advisors throughout The MetroHealth System, including its ambulatory health centers. Representatives from ambulatory health were included on the task force.
MetroHealth’s Patient and Family Advisor program launched in October 2014. PFAs are integrated into a variety of MetroHealth projects and committees throughout The MetroHealth System.
In May 2015, the Office of Patient Experience hosted the first meeting of the Patient and Family Advisory Council, a new group formed to help advise MetroHealth on programs and policies to meet the needs of patients and their family members. The group is comprised of patients, family members and staff from diverse departments throughout The MetroHealth System. According to its mission, the Council is committed to ensuring the provision of a safe, high-quality, patient and family centered environment at MetroHealth.
With more than 500 providers, the Internal Medicine Department and Family Medicine Department deliver primary care in more than 20 ambulatory health centers. Several MetroHealth primary care practices have been recognized by NCQA as Level 3 PCMHs. Patient and family advisors are integrated in the ambulatory health care setting through a variety of projects and committees, including:
Operating in conjunction with the Cleveland Department of Health, the MetroHealth J. Glen Smith Health Center is supported by MetroHealth's full scope of services including comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services and subspecialty referral care. The Center provides the following care options: Infectious Disease Counseling, Internal Medicine, Medicare Wellness Visits, Nutrition Counseling, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics and Social Work.
The PCMH Quality Committee at J. Glen Smith began in 2014. Brenda Metzger is one of its members. Her primary care physician, Joseph DaPrano, MD, whom she has seen since 2002, chairs the Committee and encouraged her to join. Dr. DaPrano is also the Medical Director of the Health Center. When she attended a training program for PFAs, Brenda was also invited to serve as a member of The MetroHealth System Patient and Family Advisory Council.
As a PFA, Brenda has provided input on the after visit summary, billing systems, and community outreach and information programs. Brenda feels strongly that MetroHealth cares about its patients, including those with chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes who need to visit their primary care providers regularly. But lack of public awareness about MetroHealth’s services to the community (e.g., transportation to appointments, sliding scale fees) is a real barrier to care and the PCMH Quality Committee is actively addressing those issues.
According to Joseph DaPrano, MD, Medical Director of the Health Center, “The MetroHealth System is very committed to serving its community. Too often, though, the people we most want to help don’t know about our services – or are reluctant to use them. Having a member of the community like Brenda on the Quality Committee is invaluable in pushing us to think of new strategies for outreach and public awareness.”
As a result of her work as a PFA, Brenda Metzger offers the following advice to other patients and families, “If you want change, you have to be part of it – from the inside! ‘The powers that be’ at MetroHealth really listen but patients and families have to tell them what they need.”
Read more about the efforts of The MetroHealth System to advance patient- and family-centered care.