Meet Carolyn: Patient Discovers Affordable Resource for Medical and Dental Needs

CarolynEvery time Carolyn takes a step forward, she’s grateful for Health Partnership Clinic (HPC).

Today, Carolyn, a 50-year-old Johnson Countian, is 50 pounds lighter, attending community college and facing chronic pain with renewed hope.

According to Carolyn, HPC is her lifeline—providing the care she needs when she needs it. Since 2009, Carolyn has witnessed—first hand—the clinic’s transformation.

From expanding hours and opening new clinic sites to the addition of in-house labs, behavioral health and dental outreach care—all aimed to better serve low-income and uninsured individuals like herself.

Carolyn’s life has taken many twists and turns. She’s been a single mother, employed, unemployed, insured, uninsured and now on disability.

When faced with the tragic murder of her son, we were there—listening, comforting and offering counseling services and referrals. Through each life change, we’ve been there. And today Carolyn has a new lease on life and is feeling better than ever.

But there were some dark days. At one point, Carolyn worked a full-time job and had good health insurance. But that all ended when she was laid off and experiencing a myriad of health issues—from high blood pressure to inflammation of the heel to chronic back pain.

“I was a private pay patient, and I was paying $185 or more for every visit,” she says. “My other provider was about to turn me away when a staff member gave me information about the state’s Early Detection Works program for breast screening, and they connected me with HPC.”

Her first visit was for an annual well-woman exam. Now she gets most of her medical and dental care at HPC. She has made HPC her medical home.

“The staff are friendly and competent,” she adds. “And they make you feel like you’re family – like you’re home.” She appreciates the income-based fees, the flexible scheduling and the quality of care.

“It’s a small place, where you can get the same quality of care you would anywhere else. We just need to get the word out about it. There are so many people in the community who need what HPC has to offer.”

Carolyn is giving back by volunteering as a board member at HPC. Her term began in January.

Carolyn is one of nearly 38,000 uninsured individuals living in Johnson County. Many work part-time but still can’t afford the premiums, copays, deductibles and medication costs. HPC provides services in Johnson, Miami and Franklin Counties.

Health Partnership Clinic’s Website Gets Extreme Makeover

 

HPC Home Page

Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) announced today that it has officially launched its new and improved website, hpcks.org. The new site features a fresh, modern design, more relevant user-friendly content and simpler navigation. HPC’s mission is to provide quality, accessible and affordable health care to Johnson, Miami and Franklin Countians.

According to Amy Falk, HPC’s CEO, the new website will increase our visibility in the communities we serve. “During the makeover the website underwent a complete transformation. It is built on a new operating system with a new design, new navigation that centers on our patients, staff, donors and community members as well as a monthly blogging component. The website also features patient stories, a comments/feedback section and What’s Your HPC Story?—all focused on engaging the web audience.

The clinic was a recipient of a Capacity Building (website enhancement) grant from the Sunflower Foundation. “Thanks to the Sunflower Foundation and a web build team of staff and experts, we will now be able to reach a wider audience with our message and help the public understand the services that HPC provides and the important impact we are making to the health of our communities we serve,” Falk adds.

The website features include:

  • HOME: Request a patient appointment, blog, video, subscribe to emails and a newsletter, ability to read the site in 14 different languages, What’s Your HPC Story?, Google maps/directions and the contact page.
  • WHO WE ARE: History, mission, partners, Board of Directors and Senior Leaders bios, practice philosophy and careers.
  • OUR PROVIDERS: Bios of our providers providing medical, dental, behavioral health services and community outreach.
  • OUR SERVICES: Thorough information about our medical, dental and behavioral health services and community outreach.
  • PATIENT RESOURCES: How to become a patient, patient portal, insurance information, forms, sliding fee discount, payment options, FAQs, patient success stories and referral resources.
  • BLOG: Our first-ever blog and access to up-to-date news and social media links.
  • GIVE BACK: Provides potential volunteers and donors the information they need to get involved and begin changing the lives of those who are uninsured or economically disadvantaged in their communities.

“We think we are off to a great start, but there’s more to come,” says Catherine Rice, Vice President of Marketing and Outreach. “We plan a monthly blog initiative, and an eNewsletter is in the works. We are also lining up physicians and other medical and social agency professionals as guest bloggers to help guide viewers in getting the best possible care and make them aware of the many new tools and resources available to assist in that effort.”

About Health Partnership Clinic

Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) provides comprehensive, quality health care services, including medical, dental and behavioral health, for children and adults, regardless of socioeconomic status. HPC is in Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Paola and Ottawa, primarily serving Johnson, Franklin and Miami counties. HPC is a Federally Qualified Health Center and Federal Tort Claims Act-deemed facility. To learn more, visit www.hpcks.org.

Health Partnership Clinic and Shawnee Mission School District Partner to Add New School-Based Clinic in Merriam Park Elementary School

Merriam Park

Embracing the idea that success in school starts with healthy learners, Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) plans to add a new federally qualified, school-based health center at Merriam Park Elementary School, 6100 Mastin St., in Merriam, Kan. beginning Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018.

The new site will only be available to Shawnee Mission School District students. HPC currently operates clinics in Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Paola and Ottawa, Kan.

The new center, which will initially open on Jan. 30, 2018, will see patients on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. for walk-in health services and on Wednesdays from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. for behavioral health services.

It will accept KanCare/Medicaid, commercial insurance and uninsured patients. A sliding-fee discount program is available to those who qualify. The center will be housed in existing space at the school.

According to Amy Falk, HPC’s CEO, the clinic will offer specialized pediatric-focused care to treat most health conditions that affect school-aged children. Our services are available through the school year to any Shawnee Mission student or child who attends the district’s Early Childhood Education Center.

“School-based clinics can make a huge difference to students’ health as well as their academic lives,” Falk adds. “In partnership with the school district, we hope to expand our reach to the community and offer convenient care that limits the amount of time students are out of class and parents/guardians must be off work.”

“Our goal is to serve as a medical home for children and offer an additional access point to primary care,” notes Anne VanGarsse, MD, FAAP, CHCEF, Pediatrician and Chief Health Officer. “Clinic services will include sick child visits, well-child and sports physicals, immunizations, chronic disease care like asthma, obesity and high cholesterol, mental health services, social service referrals and nutritional guidance.”

Shelby Rebeck, MSN, BSN, RN, Health Services Coordinator for Shawnee Mission School District says, “The idea is to break down barriers to health care. Barriers for many of our students include low income, lack of knowledge, lack of transportation and parents’/guardians’ inability to take time away from hourly jobs. Health Partnership provides a tremendous opportunity for our students to receive critical health care so that they can be successful in school.”

HPC will serve approximately 490 students from Merriam Park as well as other Shawnee Mission schools.

“The Shawnee Mission School District and Health Partnership Clinic are an example of how two organizations can come together to help improve the lives of children,” says Chaussee Druen, Principal, Merriam Park Elementary School. “The school-based health clinic will greatly expand the resources of our school nurse and social worker, and we hope to see improvement in attendance and student achievement.”

For more information about Health Partnership Clinic, or to schedule a medical appointment, Shawnee Mission School District parents should call 913-648-2266. To schedule a behavioral health appointment, parents should contact the school’s building social worker, or call 913-993-6422.

Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) provides comprehensive, quality health care services, including medical, dental and behavioral health, for children and adults, regardless of socioeconomic status. HPC is in Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Paola and Ottawa, primarily serving Johnson, Franklin and Miami counties. HPC is a Federally Qualified Health Center and Federal Tort Claims Act-deemed facility. To learn more, visit www.hpcks.org.

Shawnee Mission School District is the third largest school district in Kansas with more than 27,000 students and 4,300 employees. The district contains 33 elementary schools, five middle schools and five high schools. It also includes Horizons High School, and an Early Childhood Education Center. It’s been consistently ranked among the finest school districts nationwide for its high student performance. The district serves a diverse student population from 14 cities within northeast Johnson County, Kansas, which is 10 miles from downtown Kansas City, Missouri. For more information, visit http://www.smsd.org/.

Health Partnership Clinic Goes Red

Amalia AlmeidaPost written by Amalia Almedia, APRN
Board-certified nurse practitioner, specializing in women’s health
Chief of Clinical Services and Quality

Kicks off American Heart Month with National Wear Red Day

On Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 staff at Health Partnership Clinic will be wearing red to help the American Heart Association (AHA) and Go Red For Women celebrate American Heart Month and raise heart disease awareness by participating in National Wear Red Day.

Why Go Red? Cardiovascular disease in the U.S. kill approximately one woman every 80 seconds. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.

At HPC, we have the expertise to help women understand and manage their heart disease risk factors as part of the preventive and primary care services we provide to patients. Heart disease is the number one cause of death among women and few women are aware of their personal risk factors. The disease is disproportionately prevalent among Black and Latina women who report a higher incident of six manageable risk factors including:

  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Diabetes

Ms. Almeida recommends individuals learn how to control their risk for heart disease by talking to their primary doctor and becoming more informed. The AHA’s Take Action with Life’s Simple 7 is a great start to a healthier heart.

  1. Get active

Daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life. If you get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (like brisk walking), five times per week, you can almost guarantee yourself a healthier and more satisfying life while lowering your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

What To Do

Start by learning the basics about fitness. Also, children need 60 minutes a day–every day–of physical activity, so find ways to workout with your kids to help ensure their heart health in addition to your own.

  1. Control cholesterol

Heart HealthWhen you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance and our bodies use it to make cell membranes and some hormones, but when you have too much bad cholesterol (LDL), it combines with white blood cells and forms plaque in your veins and arteries. These blockages lead to heart disease and stroke.

What To Do

Healthy eating requires planning, but a little bit of thought goes a long way toward a better life. The AHA recommends that you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods daily from each of the basic food groups.

To get the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, fiber-rich whole-grain breads and cereals and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often.

Foods that can help lower cholesterol:

  • A variety of whole- and multi-grain products, such as bran and oats
  • Fatty fishes, such as salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna
  • Foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables
  • Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as avocado, flax seeds, olive oil and canola oil
  • Foods rich in plant sterols, such as nuts like walnuts and almonds

The American Heart Association lists these foods to avoid (or consume in moderation):

Foods to avoid (or consume in moderation):

  • Animal products high in saturated fat (beef, lamb, veal, pork, duck, goose, cream, cheese, butter, egg yolk)
  • Fried foods
  • High-fat processed meats, such as hot dogs and sausages
  • Simple sugars (found in soft drinks, candy, cakes, cookies and other baked goods)
  • Saturated oils, such as coconut and palm oil
  • Shortening, partially hydrogenated margarine and lard
  1. Eat better

Healthy foods are the fuel our bodies use to make new cells and create the energy we need to thrive and fight diseases. If you are frequently skipping out on veggies, fruit, low-fat dairy, fiber-rich whole grains, and lean meats including fish, your body is missing the basic building blocks for a healthy life.

What To Do

Want more ways to eat better? Try these tips:

  • Track what you eat with a food diary
  • Eat vegetables and fruits
  • Eat unrefined fiber-rich whole-grain foods
  • Eat fish twice a week
  • Cut back on added sugars and saturated fats
  1. Manage blood pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, means the blood running through your arteries flows with too much force and puts pressure on your arteries, stretching them past their healthy limit and causing microscopic tears. Our body then kicks into injury-healing mode to repair these tears with scar tissue. But unfortunately, the scar tissue traps plaque and white blood cells which can form into blockages, blood clots, and hardened, weakened arteries.

What To Do

To manage blood pressure, you should:

  1. Lose weight

If you have too much fat — especially if a lot of it is at your waist — you’re at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. If you’re overweight or obese, you can reduce your risk for heart disease by successfully losing weight and keeping it off. Even losing as few as five or ten pounds can produce a dramatic blood pressure reduction.

What To Do

Calculate your body mass index (BMI) to help you determine if you need to lose weight.

  1. Reduce blood sugar

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Your body makes a hormone called insulin that acts like a carrier to take your food energy into your cells. If your fasting blood sugar level is below 100, you are in the healthy range. If not, your results could indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Although diabetes is treatable and you can live a healthy life with this condition, even when glucose levels are under control it greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, most people with diabetes die from some form of heart or blood vessel disease.

What To Do

The following tips can all help reduce your blood sugar:

  • Reduce consumption of simple sugars that are found in soda, candy and sugary desserts
  • Get regular physical activity! Moderate intensity aerobic physical activity directly helps your body respond to insulin
  • Take medications or insulin if it is prescribed for you
  1. Stop smoking

Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health. Smoking damages your entire circulatory system, and increases your risk for coronary heart disease, hardened arteries, aneurysm and blood clots. Like a line of tumbling dominoes, one risk creates another. Blood clots and hardened arteries increase your risks for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease. Smoking can also reduce your good cholesterol (HDL) and your lung capacity, making it harder to get the physical activity you need for better health.

What To Do

Whatever it takes for you to stop smoking, it is worth it!

  • Visit the AHA’s Quit Smoking website for tools and resources.
  • Learn more about “Life’s Simple 7” and take action with AHA’s MyLifeCheck.

As with other chronic diseases, heart disease requires lifelong management. Making heart healthy changes in your daily life remains the single most effective way to prevent heart diseasee.

About Amalia Almeida, APRN:

Ms. Almeida has been practicing as a nurse since 1999 and as a nurse practitioner since 2007. She specializes in women’s health, including colposcopy. She cares for women of all ages at our Olathe Clinic and serves as Chief of Clinical Services and Quality.