A Note From Kelly Huntsman, CEO:
Greetings PHC patients, community partners and friends,
Fall is upon us! I hope this note finds you well and that you have been able to get out enjoy some of those crisp autumn days we’ve been lucky enough to have this October. Whether it’s enjoying a stroll through the park, working in your yard or playing tag with your kids – I know I speak for our healthcare providers and staff when I say we hope that you are ACTIVELY enjoying this weather! Staying active is an important part of your wellness and is a great preventative measure to keep both your body and mind healthy!
Speaking of being active, you might see PHC “on the move” in a neighborhood near you. We were excited to receive our mobile health unit late this summer and had our official ribbon cutting ceremony as part of National Health Center Week in August. Many thanks to the state and local representatives that attended that event. The mobile health unit is a two exam room, state-of-the-art vehicle that will allow us to bring our programs and services to patients that might not otherwise have access. Helping patients overcome barriers to care is an integral part of our mission and this is an exciting opportunity to bring care directly to our neighborhoods and communities.
This quarter has been a busy time full of community health center advocacy outreach opportunities. Community health centers across Iowa, and the nation, asked the US Congress to address the funding cliff for America’s health centers. Unfortunately, the bulk of our funding expired on September 30. This uncertainty has caused many health centers around the nation to limit services, suspend new projects and hold on adding needed, new providers.
I am glad to report that the legislation to reinstate this funding has strong bi-partisan support. Iowa’s Congressional delegates support the efforts of community health centers and see the value we provide to our patients. Although nothing is set in stone, I am hopeful that legislation will be passed before the end of the year to ensure the sustainability of health centers across the US. Representative David Young and Representative Steve King signed on as co-sponsors of the CHIIME Act (Community Health Investment, Modernization and Excellence) and I would like to extend our gratitude to both for taking those steps. We appreciate the continued support from Iowa Members of Congress! If you would like to learn more about community health center advocacy and how you can best support PHC, please see the National Association of Community Health Centers advocacy website at www.hcadvocacy.org. PHC’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts also do a great job of sharing information. Please like, share, follow and re-tweet!
Finally, I hope you will take a moment to read the patient story shared in our annual giving campaign article. It is a great example of teamwork and demonstrates our staff going the extra mile to help a vulnerable patient. Our ability to continue to provide this kind of exceptional service in our community is in large part due to your continued participation and support. Thank you for supporting PHC and the work we do!
Enjoy the holiday season!
Kelly Huntsman, CEO
Going Above and Beyond
Every day in our clinics and programs there are examples of staff going the extra mile to make sure patients get the care they need to stay healthy, gain access to services, and help guide them to a path of wellness. A recent example started with our Homeless Support Services program staff and eventually involved a provider from the dental team, and health benefits specialists. They worked together to achieve optimal care, and a positive outcome, for a complex patient.
The patient (whom we will call Terry to protect his anonymity) came into the Homeless Support office seeking assistance. Terry is disabled and has a brain injury. He knows and trusts the Homeless Support staff and this is often his first point of contact at PHC, even when his needs are not related to housing.
In the conversation with his case manager, Terry shared he was experiencing excruciating pain in his jaw. His case manager arranged for him to see a PHC dentist that very morning. The dental clinic is conveniently located just down the hall from the Homeless Support team’s office so it was easily accessible for him. The dentist quickly ascertained that his jaw was broken and it would require an oral surgeon to repair. A new wrinkle was now thrown into the equation as the team needed to secure a provider (specialist) that could care for him.
The PHC dentist caring for Terry that day, Dr. Jordan May, began making calls and eventually was able make arrangements for him to receive the specialized care required. However, the visit would require travel to Iowa City. PHC’s health benefits specialist, working with a medical office manager, began researching how to transport him there. After several phone calls, they were able to secure an ambulance to drive him to his appointment the next day. Due to his disability and other co-morbidities, an ambulance was the only safe way to transport him.
Terry sometimes experiences behavioral issues, especially in situations that may cause him anxiety. To help reassure him, PHC’s Homeless Support Service Director, Shelby Ridley, arranged to meet Terry at his home at the scheduled pick up time. Upon arriving at Terry’s apartment at 6:00am she discovered he had stayed with a friend the night before – he was not home! Luckily, she was able to intercept the ambulance and re-direct them to pick him up at his friend’s home. Had she not taken the extra step to arrive at his home early that day, Terry probably would have missed this opportunity to receive the care he needed to repair his jaw.
This is a great example of PHC programs and teams working together, taking the extra step, solving problems along the way – to provide a safety net for a vulnerable patient. Multiple professionals, with a variety of skills and expertise, ensured he received the care he needed to make a full recovery.
Would you consider making a gift to Primary Health Care to help us continue to provide the ABOVE and BEYOND service to care to the most vulnerable in our community? Your gift to the PHC General Fund will contribute to the sustainability and success of our medical, dental, homeless support, HIV prevention/treatment and behavioral health programs.
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By The Number
PHC’s Third Quarter Infographics
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Out & About: PHC Out in the Community
It has been a busy end of summer and beginning of fall for the community outreach team. We are always looking for opportunities to share information about the programs and services provided at PHC, throughout Central Iowa.
Recently, PHC has participated in WelcomeFest ISU in Ames, Pufferbilly Days in Boone, Latino Heritage Festival and the Refugee Summit, both in Des Moines. We were also present at many school health fairs, community nights and conferences in early October. It was fun to meet so many parents and students!
PHC was proud unveil our new mobile health unit in the Oktemberfest Parade in Marshalltown. Many of our staff enjoyed walking along the parade route, providing tooth brushes and toothpaste to promote the Marshalltown Dental Clinic. The Tooth Fairy (also known as MT Dental Clinic Manager, Laurie DeMeyer) even made an appearance!
Look for the mobile health unit to be out and about at Live Out Loud on November 10 & 11 in the East Village and on World AIDS Day on December 1 at the La Reina Radio Station on the south side. If you have an event/expo coming up that you would like PHC to take part in, please contact Natalia Trimnell or call (515) 248-1843.