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Public Policy and Administration


Elizabeth Hagens


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010 requires hospital systems in the United States to shift the culture of patient care from a focus on sick-care to a focus on prevention and wellness care. Little is known about how hospital systems will make this culture shift while retaining quality patient care. The purpose of this case study of a pioneering hospital-based PPACA-compliant initiative was to answer the research question of how Wallace's revitalization movement theory (RMT) "a rapid culture change model"could serve as a transferable evaluation framework for PPACA prevention and wellness care compliance in hospital-based programs. Kingdon's policy streams theory provided a conceptual framework. Data analysis included iterative, thematic coding of interviews with 3 primary stakeholders responsible for developing the policy, planning, and program implementation strategies of the Center for Total Health (CTH). Nineteen extensive primary source documents were included in the analysis as well. Findings supported the utility of the RMT structure and definitions in the identification of culture change dynamics in CTH. Additionally, this structure served as a scaffolding for grouping individual and institutional rapid culture change dynamics into stages that could be evaluated in terms of PPACA compliance. These stages effectively identified a Kingdon policy window in which PPACA mandates could be expected to result in culture change in multiple streams of public policy development, not only in wellness and sickness prevention, but also in local, state, and national health cost-saving initiatives in food-as-medicine, community identity, public health support networks. It could also reduce chronic disease and the rising institutional care delivery costs.