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WellSpan Health expands innovative Bridges to Health program with virtual care options

July 15, 2020

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WellSpan Health expands innovative Bridges to Health program with virtual care options

WellSpan Health today announces it is expanding the successful Bridges to Health program by expanding digital offerings coupled with its expansive integrated physician network to introduce the services across all of southcentral Pennsylvania.

“WellSpan is leveraging the power of technology and the recent efforts of enhancing virtual care delivered during the COVID-19 crisis to make improvements to the Bridges to Health program,” said Christopher Echterling, M.D., Medical Director of Vulnerable Populations, WellSpan Health. “Through a team-based care model with patients still being seen by their primary care practice, the program can expand its reach from treating hundreds of patients, to treating thousands.”

The program, which began in 2012, helps specific patients decrease the historically larger number of avoidable Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations. Bridges to Health patients receive assistance through a registered nurse, social worker or a community health worker, who provide wellness and coaching so that they may more effectively participate in their own treatment plan.

“Patients in the program often have complex health and social needs. They may have issues with housing, food insecurity, transportation needs, end-of-life support, financial counseling and education in addition to their medical challenges,” explained Echterling.

As part of the expansion, a centralized hub referral system is now used to connect patients with the right resources at the right time. Bridges to Health staff members are virtually integrated with primary care practices, with the option to meet with patients through telemedicine, in office or even at their homes.

The expanded program is now accepting new patients across southcentral Pennsylvania. Current Bridges to Health patients have already transitioned to the new model through their original primary care physician or the WellSpan Community Health Center if they need a new primary care physician. With the patient care now occurring in different settings, the original physical office location for Bridges to Health in York is now closed.

To learn more about WellSpan’s Bridges To Health program, visit https://www.wellspan.org/offices-locations/wellspan-bridges-to-health/.