Opinion | Lee Boyles: Community is at the core of our health care mission
St. Anthony Summit Medical Center president and CEO
Like so many of you, my family’s decision to relocate to beautiful Summit County was largely influenced by the splendor of its natural surroundings, the easy access to its endless outdoor activities, the quality of its schools, and the strong sense of community that comes with living someplace where so many of its residents choose to be.
But making ends meet in a mountain resort community is a daily challenge for many residents. And here, as in communities across our country, the cost of health care is one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. There are many legitimate and unique factors that contribute to the high cost of care in Summit County, but I know that all the reasons in the world provide little solace to our neighbors, friends and colleagues struggling to afford — or even to secure — ever-rising health insurance premiums.
St. Anthony Summit Medical Center has been the county’s leading health care provider for more than 40 years, and although my history here is significantly shorter, I can say with confidence that past and present hospital leadership has been and remains committed to fulfilling Centura Health’s mission of caring for those who are ill and nurturing the health of the people in our community with high-quality, whole-person care. Fulfilling that mission also means seeking solutions to health care’s most vexing challenges, including cost.
So when leaders of the nascent Peak Health Alliance approached St. Anthony Summit Medical Center and Centura Health to discuss a potential partnership, we didn’t hesitate to jump on board. The negotiations were smooth and quick, aided by the strong support of Centura Health leadership and our mutual determination to do what’s best for our community. Aggressive reductions in hospital costs for Peak Health Alliance members represent the first half of the equation for lowering health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs for residents. It is now incumbent upon insurance carriers to ensure those significant hospital cost reductions find their way into the pockets of Summit County families through reduced premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.
While we await the next steps in this innovative, collaborative approach to reducing health care costs for our community, I am grateful for the support of Centura Health leadership as well as the strong relationships we continue to build with Peak Health Alliance. Our partnership has been defined by a shared and deep-seated commitment to our community. And it’s community, after all, that makes Summit County such a special place to call home.
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