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Insights and Trends

Case Study: Palomar Health Expands Care Access to the Greater San Diego Community

Palomar Health Rehabilitation InstituteThe Challenge

For members of the North San Diego community in the past, access to specialized acute rehabilitation care was not readily available. This forced patients to travel outside of their local community to receive treatment which was also not near other sites of care, such as the emergency department (ED) or trauma center.

The Solution

Palomar Health saw this gap in care and, through a joint venture partnership with Lifepoint Health, identified the opportunity to expand their existing acute rehabilitation services to better serve their community and elevate their overall care offerings.

Through the 20+ year partnership with Lifepoint Health, Palomar understood Lifepoint’s capabilities as a partner. When assessing various options, Lifepoint possessed key qualities that made the decision to further the partnership clear for Palomar:

      • Mission and Values: It was important that patients, staff and the community felt a common care philosophy. Having a partner with similar values created a seamless integration for Palomar’s staff and community.
      • Specialized Expertise and Proven Clinical Outcomes: Palomar Health needed a partner with specialized experience caring for medically complex patients and that had the tools to provide high-quality outcomes.
      • Access to Capital: Lifepoint’s access to capital allowed Palomar to invest more in the patient’s care journey by building a state-of-the-art facility in a location that is easily accessible to patients, their families and hospital staff.

Lifepoint’s customizable joint venture partnership solution, coupled with the above qualities, enabled Palomar to build a new state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility in North San Diego.  

“We were looking for more than just a business partner. We wanted a partner who had the same mission as we did, and who had the same goals of serving our community so people wouldn’t have to leave their home to receive high-quality care,” stated Virginia Barragan, VP, Continuum Care and Oncology Service line at Palomar Health.

“During the initial stages of our partnership in 2001, we aligned on the mission and vision and were then able to create the first rehabilitation unit,” shared Sheila Brown, COO, Palomar Health, Board Chair Palomar Health Rehabilitation Institute (PHRI). “We quickly experienced increased outcomes and engagement through this partnership and saw the opportunity to create an even bigger partnership opportunity with Lifepoint – an inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF).”

Leadership Q&A: Meeting Growing Patient Needs Through Partnership

    1. How has the support from Lifepoint helped scale Palomar’s offerings?

Barragan: A key element in building our continuum of care was finding that partner. Lifepoint enabled us to look at specialized services, something we knew they were experts in, and allowed us to perform these services at the highest possible level.

Brown: Through our partnership with Lifepoint we were able to bless our community with a new state-of-the-art IRF. From the overall healing environment to the garden, from our treatment areas to the gym filled with innovative technology and equipment – they tailored each aspect to our patients’ unique needs.

We also filled our facility with incredible staff. We wanted employees who were not only engaged in the patient journey but had the certification to provide specialized rehabilitation care. Prioritizing these goals has allowed us to supply high-quality care for the past 20+ years.

A key number we like to recognize is that more than 80% of our patients are discharged home – that is beyond the state and region level. This would not have been possible without the support of Lifepoint.

    1. What additional opportunities did this partnership with Lifepoint provide Palomar?

Brown: We have had such a solid relationship with Lifepoint Rehabilitation over the years, so when I heard we were exploring the behavioral health service line I knew this was an amazing opportunity to expand our partnership capabilities with Lifepoint.

Mental illness has always existed in our country, and following COVID-19 and its impact, that need has only grown. We have now found land to create Palomar Behavioral Health Institute and we are so excited to continue our relationship with Lifepoint Behavioral Health.

    1. What are the challenges when it comes to finding the right partner?

Barragan: It is very hard to find a partner, like Lifepoint, who has that specialty expertise in areas like rehabilitation and behavioral health. And for that, Lifepoint is a very unique find as a partner.

Brown: We wanted a partner who could assist with capital and expertise, serve on our board of directors, and leverage our resources to serve the entire community. It’s difficult to find a partner who does all this and is flexible in their approach. Lifepoint filled those shoes for us, and we couldn’t be happier.

    1. Would you recommend Lifepoint as a partner?

Barragan: Absolutely. Lifepoint bringing to the table things such as capital, technology and equipment was vital to our vision. Although Palomar has an amazing vision for what needs to be done in our community, we don’t always have the funds to do so. We needed a partner who was just as invested in serving our community and had the capital and ability to bring bricks and mortar and technology, so that our community could receive the inpatient rehabilitation they deserved.

Brown: Lifepoint is more than a vendor, they are a true partner, and they are family.

Is there opportunity for your hospital to grow its offerings to enhance patient access? Contact us today for a no-obligation assessment of the opportunity in your community.

See more of Lifepoint’s partner success stories.

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