Make the call. It's time return to routine care.
It's no secret the pandemic was hard on our hearts. Together and alone we experienced grief, fear, anxiety, heartache, and loneliness. We've collectively been through so much. I don't know if it's possible to adequately convey the incredible strain COVID-19 placed upon our organization. In my twenty-five years in healthcare, I've never seen the level of uncertainty and fear we experienced early in the pandemic nor the level of fatigue and disappointment we saw during our second and most significant peak in November. I know others outside UnityPoint Health felt it too. And some are still feeling it.
As we all find our new normal, and get back to taking care of our health, I have to ask: When's the last time you had a wellness check? Have you thought about it lately?
During the pandemic, we witnessed many patients with chronic conditions, including serious heart conditions, stay away from hospitals and health care providers. A Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) survey released earlier this year reported about 41% of individuals reported skipping medical care during the pandemic. Annual cancer screenings were halted, blood pressure checks missed, and routine vaccinations delayed. Even before the pandemic, many of us may have put off an appointment or two. And let's not forget about taking care of our mental health, which also plays a role in our overall physical wellbeing.
If this sounds like you, I want to encourage you to resume the care you and your family needs. Your health and your family's health shouldn't wait. It could mean the difference between life and death. It may mean someone's undiagnosed colon cancer becomes harder to treat because a colonoscopy was put off too long or an undiagnosed heart condition worsens. Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Our vision for healthcare is, "Best outcome for every patient every time," and our team is ready and waiting for you. Every clinical improvement, new procedure, technology advancement and facility renovation has been waiting for you and your health care needs to walk through the door.
But we can't do it without you. Make that appointment you've been putting off. Do it for you. Do it for those who love you.
A grateful patient recently shared his story, and it's really stuck with me. He was having what he thought was a heart attack when he arrived at St. Luke's. He said everyone from the lifesaving actions of our ER team, to the advanced heart care he received, to our housekeepers were, in his words, "incredible" and that St. Luke's is "a fantastic example for the nation."
Stories like this is what keeps our team going. Caring for hearts is part of our legacy with over 43 years of experience. Our heart team is proud of their record of innovation through the years providing exceptional care close to home.
Together we persevered through the toughest COVID days. I could not be prouder or more grateful for our team members – they truly are healthcare heroes. We thank you for your support today and always.
Now pick up the phone and give your favorite healthcare hero a call. They are here for you and want to be your partner in health.
UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids president & CEO
Published in The Cedar Rapids Gazette 7-25-21
Becker's Healthcare Podcast Episode with Michelle Niermann, President & CEO, UnityPoint Health - Cedar Rapids: Listen Now >>
This episode features Michelle Niermann, President & CEO at UnityPoint Health - Cedar Rapids. Here, she discusses the hospital, advice she would give to emerging leaders, and more.
Michelle Niermann, President & CEO, UnityPoint Health - Cedar Rapids
Consider the following statistics:
- One in five adults in the U.S. live with a mental illness – roughly 18.9 percent of the population or 46.7 million adults. Yet only 42.6 percent receive mental health services.
- Mental health conditions are more common than arthritis, heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
- An estimated 11.2 million adults, roughly 4.5 percent of the U.S. population, live with a serious mental illness (SMI) such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder.
- Of these individuals, only two-thirds receive mental health services.
- One in 10 children will experience a mental health condition, while one in five will develop a serious emotional disturbance (SED) that interferes with their ability to function at home, in school and in the community. Sadly, less than 40 percent of these young people receive treatment.
These statistics illustrate the need to continue efforts to increase awareness of the prevalence of mental health conditions, eliminate the stigma that still surrounds mental health treatment, develop prevention and early intervention strategies, create additional access to treatment - especially community-based treatment options - and enhance use of evidence-based treatments.
Behavioral health is essential to health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover.
UnityPoint Health - Cedar Rapids has a broad continuum of services readily available to help people meet their needs and a strong connection between those services to allow for seamless care coordination. We are proud that in 2017 AbbeHealth became part of UnityPoint Health. One the area's largest providers of outpatient behavioral health services, AbbeHealth offers expansive community mental health services and residential care for those with serious mental illness, as well as aging services, across nine counties.
In 2018, Abbe was awarded a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), one of 52 organizations nationally and the only program in Iowa selected to receive this support. The grant is $2 million annually for two years and supports increased clinical capacity and better partnerships with primary care providers for mental health patients at-risk for chronic physical health conditions.
This is especially important because the linkage between physical and mental health care needs is unambiguous. Almost 70 percent of adults with mental health conditions also have physical health conditions. Medical costs alone for these patients are three times higher than those patients without a mental health diagnosis.
Sadly, the individual and societal toll of mental illness is abundantly obvious, from the high-profile tragedies we see on nearly a weekly basis to the quiet suffering that happens inside families or in isolation. Help is broadly available throughout our communities. If you or anyone you know struggles with mental health issues that impact your life, help is available.