Nearing three decades of service in the health care industry, Tracy Mitchell believes service to her fellow citizens is in her DNA.
It relates to her time in the military, serving in active duty with the United States Coast Guard from 1983-87 and the reserves from 1987-91. She transitioned into nursing after leaving the Coast Guard, which led her to stints in management with CoxHealth, where she’s worked as system administrative director of population health since 2015.
“As a registered nurse, I have spent my entire career as a champion for my patients,” says Mitchell, who also worked as director of quality support for Cox HealthPlans and as patient safety officer and performance improvement manager for the health system. “From my work at the bedside, to quality management and patient safety, to my current work in population health, I am deeply committed to the triple aim of health care: better outcomes, lower cost and better experience for the patient.”
That commitment is manifested primarily in the efforts she leads around care redesign at CoxHealth, while keeping the patient at the center of the process.
“I help local patients by collaborating with public health agencies and other community entities to develop support, and maintain an infrastructure which enables better coordination and continuity of care,” she says.
Last year, for example, Mitchell created a collaborative working group with members of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Springfield-Greene County Women Infants and Children office, paramedics and others, with the goal of breaking down barriers to provide continuity of care to those they serve.
“Often, this means helping people get to the appropriate venue of care, which may actually have less to do with health care needs and more to do with social needs like food, shelter and caring interaction,” she says.
Mitchell applied for and received a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health to create a database where health care and community agencies can share resource information and track referrals between agencies.
“This cross-sector collaboration throughout our region is breaking down silos and bringing together a shared vision of improving the health of the communities we serve. I am privileged to be a part of a tremendous team,” she says. “We are transforming the way we think about health care delivery with an approach to care that values and utilizes the resources in our community to ensure that we not only treat the present illness, but encourage a healthy, well-supported life outside the hospital.”
Being a contributing member of the community reaches beyond Mitchell’s health care work, as the veteran remains an active member of American Legion Post 1214. She regularly volunteers at events, such as the KGBX Women’s Show and United Way Day of Caring, as well as Memorial Day and Veterans Day parades. She also has served as a guardian for the Honor Flight of the Ozarks and donated time for Quilts of Valor Foundation, a national nonprofit organization for veterans.
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