December 14, 2015 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens/IAD
Adventist healthcare leaders across the Inter-American Division (IAD) reported on their institutions’ accomplishments during the last five-year period and outlined development plans for the coming years during last month’s Adventist Healthcare Service – Inter-America (AHS-IA) board meetings in Miami, Florida.
AHS-IA was established in 2010 in association with Adventist Health International with headquarters at Loma Linda University, in California, said Elie S. Honore, M.D., president of AHS-IA. It is an organization that exists to strengthen and assist healthcare institutions promote physical, mental, social, and spiritual wholeness of mankind while fulfilling the mission of the church.
According to Dr. Honore, a medical doctor who prior to his current position, served as IAD’s health ministries director for 20 years, all 14 hospitals and 24 clinics in the IAD have implemented learnt quality control measures.
Three regional leadership conferences and two global conferences took place in the last five-year period, reported Dr. Honore. Global conferences involve all hospital administrators, medical directors, treasurers and nursing directors. AHS-IA leaders were in attendance. In addition, a hospital chaplaincy certification program was implemented across the territory.
“All of our institutions are currently running expansion and or ample remodeling projects which is one of the main objectives outlined in the by-laws of AHS-IA,” added Honore.
Other key objectives for healthcare institutions under the AHS-IA organization include working towards a quality healthcare and evaluation program, recruitment and training of key personnel, seeking financial reporting system, networking among other healthcare institutions in the territory and in North America, and dealing with general liability and professional liability coverage, among others.
So far, bringing together all hospitals and clinics across the IAD has been a major improvement during the last five years, said Honore. Previously, all healthcare institutions just answered to their upper church organization and governing board, but now there are many more benefits.
“Medical malpractice coverage has been a major issue, and we currently have all 38 institutions with a group coverage averaging less than $400,000 annual premium for the last five years,” explained Honore. “We are stronger together.”
There is now more awareness of the need for a more professional approach to healthcare management, said Honore. “There’s a progressive creation of a pool of healthcare managers to break the circle of new unprepared leaders as it had been in the past.”
Plans are to provide an online mandatory executive healthcare leadership certificate program with Loma Linda University and Montemorelos University for all current healthcare institution leaders, as well as a compulsory annual continuing education, explained Honore. A mandatory basic training for board members with annual continuing education is also in the works.
A capital development fund will be set where the IAD, unions and local fields with healthcare institutions will be part of, according to Honore. “Such funds will assist institutions with soft short-term and mid-term loans for acquisition of new equipment and break away from current obsolete equipment affecting quality of care,” he added.
Board members also voted a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a working relationship between the Health City Cayman Islands and AHS-IA, with plans across healthcare institutions to include free cardiac surgery for indigent children 0 to 18, throughout the IAD territory, and possible establishment of Cardiac Cath Lab in four of the fourteen Adventist hospitals as well as acquisition of new equipment.
It’s not only about the strides made during the past five years with AHS-IA, said Honore, but also about continuous improvement.
“My top concern is the sustainability of the initiatives put in place during the last five years in which we invested over half-a-million dollars, and the next five-year initiatives,” said Honore, who holds a master’s degree in public health and one in healthcare administration from Loma Linda University.
There are still challenges that need to be met. “We need to continue overseeing proper governance and adequate leadership throughout out hospitals,” said Honore. “Adequate updated equipment and proper biomedical maintenance are our second and third biggest challenges across most of our health institutions, and keeping a consistent culture of quality is needed as well.”
Plans also include setting up a national health system wherever there is more than one healthcare institution in a country such as Mexico, Venezuela, Jamaica, and others, Honore said.