Western Maryland Health System honored for innovation

CUMBERLAND, Md. — Western Maryland Health System was recently recognized as a Health Quality Innovator of the Year for Maryland.

The award was presented by Health Quality Innovators, an independent, nonprofit consulting organization. The awards are HQI’s program for gathering and sharing the best evidence-based, practical methods for enhancing quality of care across physician practices, hospitals and long-term care facilities.

WMHS was selected as a winner in the population health category for its work to improve the health of patients and communities through prevention and treatment of chronic disease.

WMHS provides health care services for residents in Allegany and Garrett counties in Maryland and surrounding counties in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. With a focus on social determinants, WMHS has introduced a number of population health initiatives to the community focused on improving health and reducing the cost of care.

The health system has taken an active role in addressing food insecurity, one of the biggest social determinants of health. WMHS offers a Food Farmacy that ensures diabetic patients are discharged with a 14-day supply of healthy food. It operates seven community gardens and orchards and participates in a summer backpack program to make sure that school children go home in the summer with healthy food when schools are closed.

The health system’s annual pre-Thanksgiving feast involves hundreds of volunteers feeding thousands of the community’s most vulnerable citizens. Beginning this summer, WMHS will begin bringing produce from the gardens to additional food desert hot spots throughout the community through a mobile healthy food delivery service.

Western Maryland Health System was formed in 1996. In November 2009, WMHS opened a new hospital in Cumberland, Md.

The Western Maryland Regional Medical Center has more than 200 beds and offers a range of general and specialty services for medical, surgical and obstetrical patients.