Bolingbrook – Bringing physicians and insurance companies together is no easy task. No one understands that better than clinical quality director of Adventist Health Network, Pamela Ballou-Nelson.
“Today’s healthcare is an experiment with hospitals and physicians learning as they go,” said Ballou-Nelson. “Physicians will need to be accountable for their actions. They have to communicate and collaborate or nothing will get accomplished.”
The new patient centered medical home initiative is Ballou-Nelson’s latest project. Through patient-centered medical homes, primary care physicians lead care teams that work with patients to keep them healthy and monitor their care on an ongoing basis. PCMH teams coordinate patients’ health care, track patients’ conditions and ensure that they receive the care they need. It vastly improves the doctor-patient relationship by giving patients’ better access to their doctors, not only when they are sick, but when they need advice and counsel to keep them healthy, an ongoing project that Ballou-Nelson believes will be the foundation of healthcare in the future.
“The goal is prevention, not just treatment,” she said. “The (PCMH) project is has the potential to change our healthcare culture and the only way we can do it successfully is by developing physicians and staff and doing our best to prepare them for healthcare reform.”
For her commitment to Adventist Midwest Health’s mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ, Ballou-Nelson was one of five Adventist Midwest Health leaders to recently receive the organization’s pillar award at its quarterly leadership development institute.
Graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in nursing, the Cincinnati native used her degree in Alaska for five years, before continuing her education at Wheaton College where she earned a master’s degree in communication. While working at Wheaton, Pam Williams, vice president for physician services at Adventist Midwest Heath, offered her a part-time position in quality management. A few years later, she was made full time and has been the clinical quality director for six years. Her education hasn’t stopped; she recently finished her masters and went on for her Ph.D. in public health from Walden University in Minnesota.
For Ballou-Nelson, winning the pillar award is all about her staff, comprised of eight team members. She and her staff work with the physician hospital organization, which spans all four Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals and includes 688 physicians. In addition, the PCMH project is beginning within PHO and includes 154 physicians, representing 52 practices.
“It all comes down to the team,” said Ballou-Nelson. “The award goes to them. Their effort everyday is what makes us successful.”
Ballou-Nelson also travels once a year to India where she works with a faith based organization called Gilgal Gospel. She lives in Wheaton with her husband, Rick, and son, Eric.
Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com. Physicians on the medical staff of Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals are independent contractors, and are not agents of the hospitals.
Media contact: Sheila Galloro, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,Sheila.Galloro@ahss.org; (630) 856-2359.