- Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee has been tapped to serve as Ascension's first chief community impact officer. Duperval-Brownlee currently serves as vice president of care excellence for the St. Louis-based system.
- In her new role she will help guide Ascension's pivot away from focusing on hospital campuses to improving the overall health of a community. Duperval-Brownlee will first focus on Washington, D.C., as Ascension moves away from providing acute care and aims to address the unmet health and social needs of those living in the surrounding communities.
- Ascension said in a statement that Duperval-Brownlee will work to "integrate healthcare and non-healthcare partners to optimize the physical, mental, and financial health and well-being of a defined community."
Inpatient admissions continue to decline as more patients seek care in outpatient settings, prompting hospitals such as Ascension to rethink their historical focus and chart a new strategic direction. Outpatient services now represent 53% of the system's overall patient revenue, another illustration of the shift from inpatient to outpatient.
And the new role comes as health systems are moving closer to a world where reimbursements are tied to keeping patients well, healthy and out of the hospital.
Duperval-Brownlee will be "collaborating with partners to advance health equity thorough community health improvement and impacting the community-based social determinants of health to enable fulfillment of strategic goals through investment and program development," according to a statement from Ascension.
To respond to its new focus, Ascension has undergone a reorganization as it looks to become a "flatter," more efficient company, including a restructuring of executive positions.
The hire also comes as scrutiny of nonprofit hospitals heats up. Sen. Chuck Grassley has launched in inquiry with the IRS into whether nonprofit hospitals are living up to their charitable mission and whether they're able to show they meet the tax-exempt requirements he helped to create that include assessing the health needs of their communities.