Please join us in welcoming the newest members of the NCACH team! Heather Smith and Mariah Brown were recently hired as Practice Facilitators to support the Whole Person Care Collaborative. The role of the Practice Facilitators is to propel forward the clinical transformation efforts of the WPCC Learning Community by offering in-network coaching and technical assistance to help our partnering providers achieve their clinical change plan goals. Welcome, Heather and Mariah!
(L-R: Heather Smith and Mariah Brown, photos provided by Heather Smith and Mariah Brown)
Tell us a little about your background.
MB – My public health journey started at the University of Washington, where I graduated with a BS in Public Health in 2014. Prior to my role at NCACH, I was employed at Confluence Health as the Education Coordinator for the Accountable Care department. My role focused on providing training and resources to Confluence Health providers and staff regarding the health plans and programs administered through Accountable Care. I have spent my life in North Central Washington. I grew up in Oroville and currently reside in Cashmere.
HS – My background has been mostly in healthcare revenue cycle (coding and billing). A little over two years ago I started the Clinical Documentation Improvement program for Lourdes Health Network. My focus was split between coder and physician education and data collection and analysis for denial prevention and education.
What does whole person care mean to you? How can the NCACH region (especially the non-clinical community) contribute to whole person care?
MB – Whole person care is an approach that focuses on all aspects of wellness through the integration of physical and behavioral health, and addressing the social determinants of health – as these conditions in the environment factor for 60% of health outcomes. The traditional healthcare system is primarily responsible for treating illness and disease, whereas a whole person care approach expands beyond that to achieve the “Quadruple Aim” of improving the care experience for both the patient and provider, improving the health of the population, and reducing healthcare costs.
HS – To me, the WPCC means transitioning towards a comprehensive approach to patient care. Many of the gaps in our healthcare delivery system can be bridged by crafting thoughtful chronic disease management and prevention strategies.
What are you most excited about as you take on the role of Practice Facilitator?
MB – I am excited to build partnerships and work toward improving health outcomes for our region. I think whole person care is immensely important and feel grateful for the opportunity to play an integral role in creating a lasting transformation.
HS – I’m excited to engage with so many different practices and individuals. I’ve always valued the shared learning between my colleagues from other organizations and am really looking forward to opening those lines of communication and connecting these practices who have so much to learn from one another. Nobody wants to re-invent the wheel but so frequently they do simply because they’re isolated and don’t know there’s already a process that’s been tested and road worthy. I’m excited to have to opportunity to help others communicate these ideas and best practices but also to develop their own improvements.
What is your advice for those new to the quality improvement world?
MB — I think it is important to remember that while quality improvement is a systematic, formal approach to improving performance – there are ways to make it more fun and less intimidating. Start small and don’t be afraid to fail a few times before you find success. As Woody Allen said, “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”
HS — Be patient. Change takes time and doesn’t come easily for everyone but it does come. The greatest challenges can also be the most rewarding.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
MB — I feel so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place with an abundance of recreational opportunities. I like to spend time hiking and kayaking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. My boyfriend and I enjoy camping in my Shasta Airflyte “glamper” – one of our favorite places to camp is Bonaparte Lake, near Tonasket. I also spend my free time doing yoga or going to barre classes, and running along the Apple Capital Loop Trail.
HS — In my spare time I like to be home with my daughter Lillian and husband Charly in Pasco. We enjoy camping, traveling and gardening.
To learn more about the Whole Person Care Collaborative and NCACH’s clinical transformation efforts, please visit: https://ncach.org/wpcc