TriHealth’s Good Samaritan Free Health Center is being recognized by The Health Collaborative as a finalist for the Gen-H Award, as part of the 2017 Inspire | Healthcare dinner and awards celebration planned for November 1 at the downtown Renaissance Hotel. The Gen-H Award recognizes an individual, team, or organization that has demonstrated progress on the Gen-H goals of making the healthy choice the easy choice where we live, work, learn, or play. Gen-H, or “The Health Generation,” is all of us working together to make health and healthcare a value we share in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
Caring for the uninsured
More than half of all adults in the United States has one or more chronic health conditions, and one in four has two or more (source). Managing chronic illness can be difficult even with insurance, but without it, the risks and costs involved are much greater. TriHealth’s Good Samaritan Free Health Center (“FHC”) offers services to patients who live in Hamilton County, have no insurance, are over 18 and not pregnant. It provides primary care, dental care, gastroenterological care, gynecological care, mammograms, physical therapy, rheumatology services, sick visits and chronic disease care, and much more. The FHC operates as a private office, by appointment only. Hours are Monday-Saturday.
Striving for holistic ways to improve the health of all its patients, the FHC has developed partnerships to help address language barriers and offer prescription drug access & education, as well as to provide eye exams, gynecological services, mental health services, and healthy food options to its patients. In FY17, 11,349 appointments were made with a 10.6% no show rate. The previous fiscal year there were 8,923 appointments made with the same no show percentage.
Addressing language barriers
Understanding the medical advice given by providers is crucial for patients to optimize their health outcomes. The FHC focuses on improving communications with its culturally diverse patients, recognizing that approximately half of those who come to the FHC speak another language. There are currently 57 countries represented in the patient population. Five iPads with interpretation services software were purchased through a grant from the SC Ministry Foundation and have increased the FHC’s ability to treat the patient. In addition to these invaluable tools, Affordable Language Services interpreters assist providers in communicating with the patients when needed, and there are three full-time Spanish speaking staff members serving the largest group of non-English-speaking patients.
Resources for access and education
Knowing that prescription drugs are often prohibitive for many patients, the FHC works closely with Saint Vincent de Paul Charitable pharmacy so patients can get the medications they need. Pharmacists from Saint Vincent de Paul, Kroger, and UC Pharmacy School also volunteer to educate patients on the medications they are taking. In July of this year, a student began working at the FHC four days a week, performing medication reconciliation reports for patients and acting as an additional resource for patient prescription education.
Empowering patients to better manage chronic disease
Patients with Type 2 diabetes, specifically those with A1Cs (blood sugar levels) greater than 7, are scheduled appointments (30 minutes each with a nutritionist, social worker, and a pharmacist) for individual education specific to that patient’s issues.
The goal of this program is to partner with patients in order to empower them with their health outcome. The program began in the summer and the results are measured by the difference between the A1C and vitals taken at the first and third visits. The FHC will also track nutrition literacy and social barriers, with a research study to begin in January 2018. According to industry research, for every percentage drop of A1C levels, there is an annual healthcare savings of $8,000 per patient.
Addressing mental health for holistic wellness
For more than a year, a full-time, licensed social worker now provides and coordinates mental health services for patients of the FHC. Patients are either identified by provider referrals or through self-identifying wellness surveys done in the waiting room daily. Over the course of the first year, there have been over 1200 appointments for a variety of mental health stressors, and after three counseling sessions each, 94% of these patients reported having an improved outlook. This is recorded through the Flourishing Scale, a survey measuring patient self-perception.
Healthy foods at the point of care
Every Tuesday, La Soupe delivers donations of homemade frozen soups to the FHC, while each Wednesday during the growing season, EarthConnection provides donations of fresh vegetables (850 pounds just in this past year) from their garden. These donations are placed in the patient waiting room along with recipes. Patients are encouraged to take food home so they have healthy options available through the week.
Meet the team
- Joe Burger
- Susie Fredrick
- Anne Geiler
- Sandy Gleeson
- Barb Hagedorn
- Anne Klapheke
- Kyla Maddox
- Blanca Moreno
- Cathy Rafales
- Linda Smith-Berry
The FHC is the only free health center in Hamilton County, the largest urban free center in Ohio and recently was awarded a AAA rating for Quality by the Ohio Association of Free Clinics.
Congratulations to the Good Samaritan Free Health Center team on its outstanding work toward achieving the Gen-H Triple Aim of healthier people, better care, and lower costs through a wide variety of services and innovative approaches.
About Inspire | Healthcare:
Inspire | Healthcare is the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region’s premier annual healthcare event and awards celebration. The awards seek to recognize innovations by individuals, teams, and/or organizations in the areas of informatics, quality improvement, and population health. Other awards given annually include the Inspire Champion Award and the Hoxworth Blood Drive Awards, with separate nomination and judging processes. For more information about Inspire | Healthcare, visit healthcollab.org/inspire.
About The Health Collaborative:
The Health Collaborative strives to lead data-driven improvement initiatives that result in healthier people, better care, and smarter spending. Based in Cincinnati, we work with those who provide care, pay for care, and receive care, to find mutual solutions to healthcare’s most challenging problems. For more information about The Health Collaborative, visit healthcollab.org.