An interview with Gayle Capozzalo
What is your role as YNHHS executive vice president?
My role is to help define and execute strategy. Much of my focus is on strengthening ties within the Yale New Haven Health System and among our delivery networks. We need to expand what we do together — clinically, operationally and financially. We also need to continue to grow Yale New Haven Health by developing relationships with other healthcare organizations.
What is your approach as YNHHS builds relationships both inside and outside the system?
As we make internal connections within the system, our focus is to keep our costs down, so that when we want to make external connections with other organizations, we can offer them real value. It's a yin and yang — internal and external relationships, lowering costs and increasing value. It is also important that we offer the same high standard of care at all of our locations.
How would you describe the reputation and identity of YNHHS?
Ten years ago, market research showed that the Yale New Haven Health brand added value to the local hospitals, but did not change consumer decision-making. Most people identified strongly with their local hospitals. But as we've expanded, awareness of the system has grown considerably. Current research shows that the Yale New Haven Health name is actually attracting patients to our hospitals and services.
Is the role of the local hospital diminishing?
Not at all. Local pride and community needs will always be very important in health care — both for our patients and our employees. But local capabilities are greatly enhanced by working together as a system. You see Yale New Haven Health everywhere now — physician offices, urgent care centers, ambulatory cancer care centers. Being part of a system is the future of health care.
What are the benefits of being part of a system?
I think of the old expression, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." As a system, we are stronger and can offer more than separate hospitals can because we have hospitals, physicians, ambulatory sites, rehabilitation settings and preventive care. This will help us become more cost efficient and meet all the health needs of patients — not just their hospitalization needs.
What is our strategy?
Yale New Haven Health has a three-pronged strategy: 1) increase scale and our clinical programs; 2) create value by continuing to offer the same high quality while becoming more affordable; and 3) become partners with our physicians so that together we can help people navigate through the healthcare system, get healthy and stay healthy. To do this, we must create meaningful partnerships, based on a single vision.
What is our vision?
Our vision is to improve the lives of our patients by providing appropriate and high-quality care and by partnering with others who share our values. Collaborating with other providers and payors will help us improve value for patients and enhance the health of the populations we serve.
What is the role of physicians within YNHHS?
Physicians are a critically important part of our system. Hospitals and physicians need to work together and assume responsibility for managing people's health — coordinating care both in and outside the hospital and preventing unnecessary admissions and readmissions. We want to be a truly integrated delivery system, not just a collection of hospitals. It sounds like we are trying to keep people out of the hospital. Is that true? We are trying to ensure that each patient is cared for in the most appropriate setting at the right time. Current reimbursement favors inpatient care, but for some patients at some points in their care, there are other alternatives that may be better and less costly. We all need to work together to manage costs, eliminate inappropriate use, avoid duplication of services and yes, prevent avoidable hospitalizations. Current technology allows us to offer many more services in ambulatory settings, which are less costly and more convenient for patients.
Why is health care changing so rapidly?
Healthcare reform is changing how hospitals provide and get paid for care. We used to get paid a set amount to take care of patients in the hospital. Now our level of payment is tied to certain measures — such as patient satisfaction scores and core quality and safety measures. Linking reimbursement to performance is a good thing because it will help ensure that the standards of care and service remain high, as we go through these changes.
What should employees across the system know?
Our focus on patient-centered care is what will differentiate us from other providers and what will enable us to provide the same high standard of care across the entire health system.