Our region ranks lower than national averages according to numerous health and socioeconomic indicators. At our meeting today, Corey Paulson, community engagement specialist with Ballad Health, shared how Ballad plans to turn the tide for these trends. Ballad Health, the merger of Wellmont and Mountain States Health Alliance, has made a commitment to improve 25 health factors across the 21-county Tennessee-Virginia region with its new Population Health department.
Over the next ten years, Ballad will invest $308 million into initiatives targeting regional health. in three key areas: behavioral health, academics and research, and addressing key population needs in specific areas. Some of these target areas are childhood obesity, diabetes, tobacco cessation, opioid abuse, literacy, physical activity and more.
Paulson said the initiative begins with research and coordinating with existing initiatives. This will transition into an action phase with funding to support existing and new initiatives, as well improving coordination across thte region. Paulson said no other health system has taken this approach, and part of the catalyst for the new Population Health program was the system’s Certificate of Public Advantage, granted by Tennessee and Virginia. The two states will hold Ballad accountable as it works towards these goals.