It’s the little things, like a 5K run that brings the community together and inspires families to set goals and enjoy healthy activity together. It’s also the big things, like a genuine commitment to think and act beyond taking care of the sick and find better ways for those in our communities to lead healthier, fuller lives. Most of all, it’s the understanding that transformative health care is truly more than health care.

OSF HealthCare was selected in 2016 as one of 100 Accountable Care Organizations to Know by the national health publication, Becker’s Hospital Review. The listing applauds health care organizations for their efforts to significantly improve quality of care, care management, patient satisfaction and cost of care.

An ACO is a group of doctors, hospitals or other health care providers working together with Medicare to give patients better, more coordinated service and health care. Think of an ACO as a team made up of doctors and other health care providers working together to share important information and resources about patient needs and preferences.

Doctors and hospitals in an ACO communicate with their patients and with each other to make sure that patients get the care they need when they’re sick, and the support they need to stay healthy.

OSF HealthCare created an ACO under the CMS Pioneer model in 2011 and landed its first commercial accountable care agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois for 40,000 beneficiaries in 2013. The ACO earned the fifth highest quality score — 90.3 percent — among Pioneer ACOs in 2014. OSF HealthCare ACO transitioned into a CMS Next Generation ACO in 2016, one of only 18 initially in the country.

The effort means OSF HealthCare is making progress in its goal to transform the way health care is delivered throughout the Ministry. We intend to keep this momentum going and extend our Ministry where value-based care touches even the most vulnerable patient populations.

In spring 2016, four Mission Partner volunteers from Illinois Neurological Institute led a weekend-long camp for a group of six Parkinson’s disease patients and six caregivers at Pilgrim Park in Princeton, Illinois. Using the example of the stroke camps held annually for more than a decade with the help of Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camps, the camp was designed to reduce the stress – for both patients and their caregivers – of living with Parkinson’s disease.

Fun and therapeutic activities, like a drum circle, art therapy, painting, massage, indoor golf, karaoke, bingo and manicures allowed campers to forget about their daily struggles for a brief time. Breakout therapy sessions allowed patients to share their experiences with other patients and caregivers to share with other caregivers, creating opportunities for campers to bond over common experiences. Campers found camaraderie as they laughed, cried and learned together.

Due to the positive response, OSF HealthCare scheduled another Parkinson’s disease camp for fall 2017 in Henry, Illinois, with the intention of accommodating more than 30 campers.

The example set at the Parkinson’s disease camp may prove beneficial to more than just attendees in central Illinois, too. In attendance at the pilot camp were a couple of representatives of a health care system based in Phoenix, Arizona, who will hold their own Parkinson’s disease camp in the spring of 2017, according to Larry Schaer, Retreat and Refresh associate director. For him, the Parkinson’s disease camp pilot proved his theory that the stroke camp model, which is designed to provide support to people in a difficult situation, is applicable to more than only stroke survivors and their caregivers.

“I think what we learned was that regardless of the type of deficit a person has, support – family, personal and community support – is important in dealing with challenges,” Schaer said. “It helps people to not give up and changes their whole quality of life. Support really is the key to helping people through long-term disabilities.”

Stop by the cafeteria at OSF Saint Luke Medical Center, and you might be struck by what’s not on the menu. No soda. No donuts. No candy bars or candy. No deep fried foods.

If you choose to partake in the extensive salad bar, your fresh toppings will have a uniquely OSF Saint Luke flair. Many of them were grown in the garden behind the hospital that Mission Partners installed in spring 2016 and take turns weeding, watering and harvesting.

The garden is the newest aspect of a commitment to wellness that started with Mission Partners inside the hospital, but has grown into a community endeavor. Last year, the medical center received a grant from the Illinois Hospital Association that purchased seeds, three raised beds and fencing. Mission Partners volunteer to take a week of monitoring, weeding, watering and harvesting. Crops includes spinach and lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, beets, peppers, onions and more.

The garden is part of an already healthy lineup of wellness initiatives. Mission Partners participate in a variety of wellness challenges around sleep, emotional wellness, biometric screening, activity and nutrition. Mission Partners and their families have 24-hour access to the Wellness Edge Center, an on-site fitness facility.

OSF Saint Luke also sponsors a 5K walk/run each summer that is open to the community and operated by volunteer Mission Partners.

Last year, the proceeds from the 5K went to support another important community wellness initiative – a program that provides a free flu immunizations to all children in Kewanee, Wethersfield, Neponset and Visitation schools with a signed consent from a parent. Last year, 800 immunizations were administered with the goal to keep kids healthy and in school. Free vaccinations also are given to school employees.

Children in the Kewanee community also benefit from WellnessEDGE for Kids, a week long wellness education program for at-risk youth is annually offered in July by OSF HealthCare. At the camp, children learn how play can really be exercise, how to make healthy snacks and even healthy coping skills.