Community Partnerships for Better Health Care
At Southcentral Foundation, we approach health care as a shared responsibility. We have found that when health care providers build relationships with customers, and work with them as active partners in their care, it leads to better health outcomes and increased customer satisfaction. In addition to partnering with customer-owners who come to SCF for services, SCF also partners with the community in various ways to offer services in areas that may not have had access to them before.
In April of 2017, SCF established one such partnership with the Brother Francis shelter and Catholic Social Services with the goal of improving health care and related services for individuals experiencing homelessness. SCF opened a full-time integrated clinic in the shelter staffed by a Physician Assistant and a Registered Nurse. Through partnership with ANMC pharmacy services and Providence Medical Arts Pharmacy, prescription delivery is available on site to customers utilizing the clinic for medical care.
The clinic model is a hybrid of primary care and urgent care. Integrating this clinic in the shelter has offered the opportunity to provide services to new customers and also our system of care. Additionally, there are several customers utilizing the integrated clinic who have returned to care. Since the opening of the clinic, Emergency Medical Services calls to the shelter’s campus have decreased by approximately 40 percent.
We have also partnered with the State of Alaska, and the municipality to improve screening processes for infectious disease with the long term goal of a healthy shelter. The initial project strives to implement a robust screening process for individuals with tuberculosis (TB) infection without active disease (latent TB). The goal is to provide yearly screening for TB for all shelter guests.
In addition, all three of Anchorage’s hospitals (the Alaska Native Medical Center, Providence Alaska Medical Center, and Alaska Regional Hospital) contributed to the establishment of a respite within the shelter, so that individuals experiencing homelessness have a warm and safe place to recuperate once they have been discharged from the hospital. As stated on the shelter’s website, “the medical respite program provides a space for the self-care and recuperation that patients who are discharged from medical facilities would have in their own homes and supportive case management services to address individuals’ homelessness.”
SCF is always looking for ways to partner with the community, and opportunities like these provide the means to increase access to care and achieve better health for the community.