Recovery Roads: Walk the path, take constant inventory, keep pace.

Christopher WoodwardBy Christopher W. Woodward, LAC, Substance Abuse Specialist

September is National Recovery Month. The aim of this month is to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover.

I was talking to one of our client’s this morning over the telehealth application, and the client was about to turn the calendar on a year sober. First let me celebrate all the hard work that it takes to gain that level of sober living. Knowing where you want to go is easy, taking the steps to get there is where the difficulty is.

Not one of us truly enjoys change. Some of us endure it and some fight and push against it as hard as we can until the point of exhaustion. To gain a year without any substances as the client has—is no small thing. The client noted that he/she was very excited about this new year of being sober. The client had been resilient, was on the short end of relationship, money, housing and in jail for a good portion of the previous year. The client had persevered down the road and met his/her goal, now it was time to set a new goal. Hopefully the following strategies can help in making these new goals no matter the length of your recovery.

Walk the Path

Many times, when clients get to this point, the point of being a year sober and clean, part of me wants to say, “It gets harder from here.” Or “Now the tough work starts.” Most people will take that as a negative however, my point is that we have established positive patterns, changed in our lives our motives and in our methods.

Now we must keep doing it. Now we have to make that daily commitment and find new changes, deeper changes to solidify the recovery process. Long term recovery sometimes can feel like a false peak. Sometimes we think we have climbed the mountain, completed the task, only to get to the top and see that there is a valley and another mountain in our way to get to the actual mountain peak that we wanted to climb in the first place. That is where our resilient nature is our best friend.

We exhale, we sometimes swear, we can complain, we can survey the next steps and then we keep walking.

Take Constant Inventory

National Recovery MonthOccasionally we need to look around and consider the people, the places and our efforts. When we ask ourselves about the people that we are walking with, do they have the same goal in mind? Are they willing to take the next peak or are they satisfied with sitting here in the sun?

Finding people who push us and the pace, can help us get over the next hill and find the energy to build consistent gains. Another inventory we need to take is what are the places that we are walking in to? Am I triggered by my environment at work or at home? What does my social medial intake look like? Am I using it as a positive to push my recovery or am I slowly allowing negativity back into my thoughts and being activated by the situations of others? Also ask, do we need to make some changes in our daily efforts?

Walking in the cool of the day might be a welcome change to toiling in the sun to gain a few more steps, knowing that rest sometimes is better than pushing ourselves to the limit. Sometimes balancing our efforts with rest can make all the difference in the world.

Keep the Pace

Remember the tortoise and the hare? The hare jumps out of the gate quick and ahead of the race. The hare moves though the turns and down the path with reckless abandon, confident that the win is just around the next corner. He builds a lead and then finds himself distracted with his own speed and meaning to embarrass the tortoise took a nap on the path. Eventually losing sight of the end goal. He was caught sleeping and did not have the speed to overtake the lumbering tortoise.

The tortoise, however, was up for the challenge. He is the one if you read Aesop’s version who challenged the hare to the race. The tortoise found his pace, a pace that he could maintain for the entire race. He went about his business knowing that he would end the race. He passed the hare asleep on the road and built such a lead that the speed of the hare could not overtake him.

The tortoise made the finish line the most important part of the race. Hopefully, if we find our pace, we can do the same.

If we walk the path, take constant inventory and keep our pace we can find ourselves climbing each hill of our recovery and overall life in a successful manner. The way that we walk the path of recovery is sometimes as important as the daily goals that we have for our recovery. Remember it is not always about where we came from, it is more about where we are going that defines our life.

Patient Safety Key at Health Partnership

Sharon TrongaardBy Sharon Trongaard, RRT, MS, MPH, Clinic Director/Risk and Compliance Officer at Health Partnership Clinic

Safety is defined as “freedom from accidental injury” (ACP). In healthcare, we can experience many different types of errors that can negatively impact a patient’s health. Contrary to popular belief, most medical errors do not occur in hospitals, they happen in physician offices and clinics (AHRQ). This is because there are many more visits made to physician offices and clinics than there are hospitalizations.  Mistakes in medications, diagnostic tests, communication and referrals can cause delays in care, frustration and patient harm. Medical errors also take a toll on the health care providers who suffer from remorse and depression when a mistake is made.

The good news is that there are many things we can do to increase patient safety and reduce errors.

Here are a few ways Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) keeps you safe:

  • Patient SafetyPatient Identification. We will ask for your name and Date of Birth (DOB) many times during your appointment. We also will ask to take your picture for your medical record and verify your address as additional safety steps. When we call you with test results or information, we will ask you to verify your Date of Birth.
  • Cleaning our hands. We clean our hands using alcohol-based sanitizer or washing with soap and water, before and after providing care. We should do this even if we wear gloves.
  • Reviewing medication lists. Your Health Care Team needs to know all the medications and supplements you take so that they can provide the safest care.
  • Ask you to fully participate in your care. Your Health Care Team cares about your health status, concerns and goals. They need your involvement to develop a care plan specific to you.
  • Use terms you understand and not medical jargon. This helps to ensure you understand instructions.
  • Coordinate care like referrals to specialists, medical imaging, counseling and lab tests. These give your Health Care Team important information about your health and specific problems that may need treatment.
  • Follow CDC guidelines for infection control and cleaning our facilities. We check these guidelines very frequently to keep everyone safe.
  • Ask you to answer surveys so we can improve your experience. These may be on paper, via email or text.

Here are ways you can keep yourself safe:

  • Patient SafetyIf we forget to ask for identification (name and DOB), ask that we do.
  • If you do not see us clean our hands, ask that we do.
  • Participate in your care. You should be an active partner with the health care team. If you have questions about a medication, or what your next steps are, speak up so we can ensure you understand and agree that the care plan will work for you.
  • Use the ePortal so that you have easy access to your medication lists, lab work and other health information. You can also send messages to your health care team through the ePortal. To access HPC’s portal, click here
  • Have your medications on a list and keep it up to date. You can also bring your medication bottles to your appointment if that is easier. You will want to include supplements and vitamins as some of these can interact with medications.
  • Double check your medications when you pick them up from the pharmacy. Does the medication label have your name and address? Is the medication, dose and instructions what you were expecting? Call the office or pharmacy if you notice something is not right.
  • Follow up and complete any lab tests or referrals that your health care team orders for you. If you cannot follow through for some reason (such as cost, transportation, etc.) let your health care team know. There may be options we can offer.
  • Follow guidelines for masking and social distancing as posted in the clinics.
  • Provide us feedback on surveys. Let us know when we have done a great job and when we missed the mark.

By partnering together and focusing on these simple practices, we can make healthcare safer for all of us.




New School-Based Health Clinic Opens Sept. 2 at Shawnee Mission West High School

School Based Health Clinic at Shawnee Mission West High SchoolBy Catherine Rice, Vice President of Marketing/Outreach

Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) and the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) are partnering to bring access to primary and preventative health care, chronic disease management, mental health services and more to district students and their siblings. A school-based health clinic will open at Shawnee Mission West High School, 8800 W. 85th St., Overland Park, Kan. on Thursday, Sept. 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will serve all SMSD students and their siblings, three to 20 years old. An open house/ribbon cutting is planned for later this fall.

Specialized Pediatric-Focused Care

Shawnee Mission West School Based Clinic - English

PDF (English)

According to Amy Falk, HPC’s CEO, the clinic, which will be open on Thursdays during the school year, will offer specialized pediatric-focused care to treat most health conditions that affect children and adolescents. “We basically function as a doctor’s office but in a school building. Services are available in person or virtual, and walk-ins will be accommodated if the schedule permits. The primary goal is to provide easy, immediate access to quality and affordable health care.”

Services will include physical exams, sports physicals, immunizations, including COVID vaccines, COVID testing, age-appropriate health screenings, preventive education, referrals to specialty services, sick visits, management of acute and chronic problems and mental health services. Free Medicaid and Marketplace insurance enrollment will also be available. Dental care including screenings, fluorides and restorative care will be added in the future.

Medical Home for Students

“Our goal is to serve as a medical home for students and offer an additional access point to primary care,” says Wael S. Mourad, MD, MHCM, FAAFP, HPC’s Chief Health Officer. “Beyond a focus on primary health care, it’s important we meet the social and emotional needs of children and adolescents to help them reach their individual potential. Initially, the clinic will be staffed by a provider (either a physician or nurse practitioner), a medical assistant and a mental health clinician.”

Shawnee Mission West School Based Clinic - Spanish

PDF (Spanish)

“Health Partnership is well aligned with the major concern of schools: academic achievement. We know from studies that meeting the physical and mental health needs of children and adolescents increases their readiness for learning, prevents them from missing time in class and enhances opportunities for lifetime success. Through our integrated services we are able to more fully address the spectrum of problems students bring to primary care.”

Breaking Down Barriers

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.”

“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 Steve Loe, Principal of Shawnee Mission West High School. “The school-based health clinic will greatly expand the resources of our school nurse and social worker and helps support our goal to have every student succeed.”


Most insurance plans are accepted, including KanCare/Medicaid. As a community health center, HPC offers a sliding-fee discount program which is based on income and household size. Fees are waived for students experiencing homelessness. The center will be housed in existing space at the school.

For more information about Health Partnership Clinic, or to schedule a medical appointment, Shawnee Mission School District parents should call 913-648-2266.


HPC welcomes board-certified pediatrician Cheri El-Halawany, MD, FAAP

Cheri El-Halawany, MD, FFAPHealth Partnership Clinic (HPC) welcomes Cheri El-Halawany, MD, FAAP, a board-certified pediatrician, to its team of talented medical professionals. Beginning Tuesday, August 17, she will see patients through age 21 at HPC’s Shawnee Mission office, 9119 W. 74th Street. She speaks English, Spanish and Arabic.

Dr. El-Halawany joins HPC following nine years of clinical and instructional work at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where she was recognized for both teaching excellence and her impact on graduating students. She earlier practiced in both Colorado and Southern California, where she completed her pediatric residency.

No stranger to the KC area, she completed in 2007 the combined six-year program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Medical School, where she also earned a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree. She earlier graduated from Notre Dame de Sion High School, Kansas City, Mo.

Working in underserved areas and participating in a 2010 ARPAN Global Charities Mission trip to Egypt – her family’s country of origin – have inspired Dr. El-Halawany. An avid traveler, reader and classical pianist, she is excited to again focus on clinical work that allows her to care for children of all ages, regardless of insurance, and to benefit the community.

Asked about her care style, she commented, “It’s simply to care, to listen to parents’ and patients’ concerns, and make sure to explain things clearly before they leave.”

Dr. El-Halawany is passionate about patient comfort. “I use patience and play, especially for the younger kids who are scared to see a doctor,” she says. “For teens, I think it is important to take an interest in their affairs and ask the right questions. Kids are smart, they can tell if you care.”

Please join us in welcoming Dr. El-Halawany to the HPC team!

Ottawa location welcomes pediatric dental patients

Health Partnership Clinic is proud to announce that Dr. Emily C. Day, a pediatric dentist, is now providing pediatric dental exams, cleanings, sealants and treatments at the Ottawa office, 107 S. Main St. Services are available to children 12 and under on Friday mornings.

To schedule an appointment, please call 913-276-7004. Health Partnership accepts KanCare/Medicaid and commercial insurance. For those uninsured or underinsured, a Sliding Fee program is available to those who qualify based on income and household size.

To learn more about Dr. Day, visit her profile.

Pediatric Dental Services - Ottawa


UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas offers Transportation Assistance

UnitedHealthcare members can receive transportation services through UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas.

Unlimited Rides

UnitedHealthcare provides unlimited roundtrip rides to non-emergency medical appointments which also includes COVID related rides.

Rides to Support Group Meetings

UnitedHealthcare provides 12 roundtrip rides to Support Group Meetings

Bus Passes

Members in Sedgwick, Wyandotte and Johnson Counties can get $25 in bus passes annually. Due to the Public Health Emergency these rides are currently free.

Additional Value-Added Benefits Rides

UnitedHealthcare’s Value-Added Benefits plan provides up to 12 additional roundtrip rides annually to locations such as pharmacy trips, grocery store, food bank, WIC, prenatal classes, and other select rides to job activities for members who qualify.

Call ModivCare at 1-877-796-5847 to Request Transportation

For any questions, contact Member Services at 1-877-542-9238, TTY 711, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. CT, Monday – Friday.

Patient Services Representatives Day/Receptionist Day is May 12

By Debbie Sparks, Development and Marketing Manager

CelebrateSince 1991, National Receptionist Day has been celebrated on the second Wednesday of May, this year falling on Wednesday, May 12. HPC would like to take this opportunity to recognize our Patient Services Representatives (PSRs) who fill the role of receptionist and so much more!

According to Billie Reese-Turner, Director of Billing and Patient Services, this past year working during the pandemic has been quite challenging, but our PSRs have risen to the occasion.

“We have had a constant shortage of staff with many having to quarantine due to personal exposure or exposure to a close family member. We are taking extra steps sanitizing, and our protocols change and evolve continuously to ensure the safety of our staff and patients,” Billie says.

“One remarkable thing is that through it all, we have seen patient satisfaction increase and a decrease in abandoned calls,” Billie adds. “The teamwork and collaboration between billing staff and PSR’s working together for all locations has been exceptional.”

Staff Recognition - PSRs

Thank you to our wonderful team of PSRs: Ally Blume, Jean Cast-Martin, Joseph Delgado-Ramirez, Dania Guzman, Claudia Islas, Daniela Palacios, Maria Pena, Kristina Stubbs, Cecilia Yarick and Veronica Flores Manager of Patient Services.

The PSRs are part of the Revenue Cycle Management team and work closely with Mayra Bocanegra, Billing Coordinator; Iveth Alvarado, Enrollment Specialist; Michel Ramirez, Patient Account Coordinator; Billie Reese-Turner, Director of Billing and Patient Services and Diana Zamora, Financial Aid Coordinator.

April HPC Staff Recognitions

National Dental Hygienists Week, April 4-10

Christina CookEach year in April, we recognize the contribution of dental hygienists and their focus on maintaining good oral health practices which impacts overall health.

  • There are more than 200,000 dental hygienists in the United States. In Kansas, there are more than 2,000 dental hygienists.
  • Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care under a dentist’s supervision. They clean patients’ teeth and examine their mouths for signs of damage, gingivitis, and other diseases. Hygienists teach patients how to maintain good oral health.
  • The education of dental hygienists typically includes prerequisite courses prior to obtaining either a dental hygiene certificate or associate degree, which is typically a three-year program. Dental hygienists may go on to obtain a Bachelor of Science or Master of Science in Dental Hygiene.
  • In Kansas, dental hygienists may obtain an Extended Care Permit (level one, two or three) which allows them to practice under indirect supervision in settings like schools or nursing homes. There are 32 dental hygienists that hold Extended Care Permits.

Thank you to HPC’s dental hygienist Christina Cook for her hard work and dedication to our patients!

National Administrative Professionals’ Day

Susan WallaceNational Administrative Professionals’ Day, also known as Secretaries Day or Admin Day, is observed on the Wednesday of the last full week of April each year. This year it is celebrated on Wednesday, April 21. It is a day to recognize the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists and other administrative support professionals.

Shout out to Susan Wallace, our executive assistant at HPC. Susan supports all the Senior Leadership Team members in addition to coordinating meetings and schedules, supports the Policy Committee, HR functions and taking notes for the Board of Directors and Quality Improvement monthly meetings and so much more. We thank and salute Susan for all she does for HPC!

Health Partnership Holds COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics in Miami and Franklin Counties Saturday, March 27

By Catherine Rice, Vice President of Marketing/Outreach

Your best protection from COVID-19 will be a combination of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, wearing a mask, staying at least six feet away from others, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often. No one tool alone is going to stop the pandemic.

The good news is that Health Partnership Clinic (HPC) is providing no cost COVID-19 vaccines to Miami and Franklin County residents on Saturday, March 27, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The vaccines will be offered at HPC’s clinics in Paola and Ottawa. The clinics are located at 1604 Industrial Park Dr., Paola, KS 66071 and 107 S. Main St., Ottawa, KS 66067.

Appointments are required.

To schedule an appointment, call 913-276-7012. Callers should leave their name, date of birth and contact information slowly and clearly. HPC staff will contact callers to schedule an appointment.

At the Saturday vaccine clinics, adults 18 and older in Phase 1-4 will be vaccinated. Remember, pre-registration is required to determine eligibility by calling 913-276-7012. Participants should bring a government-issued I.D. card, insurance card and proof of address.

For Phase eligibility, refer to the graphic below. Viewers are invited to download and share the vaccination flier with their friends, neighbors and family living in Miami and Franklin counties.

Download the Vaccination Flier (English | Spanish)

Phase Eligibility

Kansas Vaccination Phases

Ask the Doctor! Chief Health Officer answers COVID-19 Vaccine questions.

Wael S. Mourad, MD, MHCM, FAAFPPost written by Wael Mourad, MD, MHCM, FAAFP, Chief Health Officer

Turn on the TV and you’re bound to hear breaking news about the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccination plans. It has spurred many questions and concerns from parents and the communities we serve.

At Health Partnership Clinic, our providers are talking with patients every day about the new COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, we have a very limited supply of vaccines and will only be vaccinating current HPC patients who meet the established criteria of both the state and county. We ask that HPC patients request a vaccine from his/her provider through the clinic’s patient portal or call 913-276-7012.

We’re thrilled so many people are interested in becoming vaccinated to save lives. Community members are encouraged to contact their health providers and/or the county health departments. Meanwhile, Dr. Wael S. Mourad, MD, Chief Health Officer and a family physician, answers some “Frequently Asked Questions” to help you better understand COVID-19 vaccines.

Link for English Questions and Answers

Link for Spanish Questions and Answers

Ask the Doc: COVID-19 Vaccinations Ask the Doc: COVID-19 Vaccinations