In addition, PinnacleHealth has engaged three competitors to conduct a five-county community health-needs assessment and brought together almost 200 community organizations to caucus around best practices in providing innovative, cost-effective care.
“We try to focus on what we think the true community needs are,” Young says. “Everybody deserves the exact same care, in the same families, with the same doctors. Not equal, but separate.”
Outside of direct healthcare provision, Young, 57, one of 10 finalists for Modern Healthcare's 2013 Community Leadership Award, has participated in efforts such as Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson's gun buyback program, the Latino Hispanic American Community Center, and athletic programs in the Harrisburg School District that PinnacleHealth says would have ended without Young's support.
Under Young's leadership, PinnacleHealth also has supported the Harrisburg School District through nutrition and after-school health education programs to more than 5,300 elementary school children per year and distribution of more than 50,000 pounds of food to 6,366 low-income and homeless children.
“We found these children ate during the week,” but went hungry on the weekends, Young says, so “we send 450 kids home every Friday with a backpack full of food big enough for them and their family. You might say that's not a healthcare entity's business, but it is—it has a key impact on the community.”
PinnacleHealth also has launched a comprehensive, family-focused obesity reduction program aimed at children ages 6 to 14 and their parents in the downtown Harrisburg area, which has served nearly 250 families and resulted in a reduction in body mass index for participants.
Throughout many of these initiatives, Young is not just providing support behind the scenes, says Barbara Terry, the system's vice president for mission effectiveness.
“He can be found regularly participating at fundraising events such as car washes, local area fundraising walks like the American Heart Association Heart Walk, Girls on the Run and many more,” she says.
“This should be what everybody in my seat does, every day,” Young says. “It's about finding what needs to be done.”
Ed Finkel is a freelance writer in Evanston, Ill. Reach him at [email protected]