I Like Challenges
I like challenges. In southwest Missouri, especially around Neosho, we have lots of hills. I always “size them up” for a bicycle match. Taking a bike up some of these hills is a literal uphill climb that takes all you have in you to make it to the top. I love the feeling of success in mastering hills; I’m a glutton for challenges.
We have a doozy of a challenge in healthcare, especially for providers like us with missions for serving the medically underserved. For Federally Qualified Health Centers, the stakes and expectations keep going up. Just when we start out to climb that hill, the hill gets taller and steeper in the midst of our pedaling.
Since 2007, we’ve (ACCESS Family Care) increased access to quality healthcare by increasing patient visits 111%. That is astounding and we’ve increased actual patients over that same period by 80%. We have 80% more new patients since 2007! Most of our patients come to us not having had consistent quality care. Because of the unaffordability of healthcare, they have neglected taking care of themselves, overused hospital emergency rooms, and chronic issues have increased. In fact, many of our patients have multiple chronic issues. That’s why I hear so often, “Thank God for your services,” and “I don’t know what we would do without ACCESS Family Care!” That makes us feel good to meet a huge need. I love my job!
Since we receive a federal grant that goes to offset the costs of providing a sliding fee discount for those who demonstrate economic need, the federal government wants some control. That’s fine; we should expect that, even if their money only makes up 16% of our budget. Their expectations require much more than 16% of our work—that’s the hill climb. We are commissioned, challenged, and expected to take the sickest population of the United States and increase their wellness. That’s a mighty hill to climb. I don’t think there is a hill that big in Neosho. In fact, we can’t even see the top of it yet.
But I like a challenge. We published on our website a press release that states our commitment to providing quality healthcare. We are also committed to increasing wellness and we are showing our uphill climb with our data. In some areas we are meeting or exceeding goals, in others we have some more of that hill to climb, but we are getting there.
2012 is the year of the data. We are going to focus strongly on it and work to demonstrate that we are providing the quality care our patients deserve. We’ve got some great things in place for which we can be proud, and these are the gears that will get us up that hill:
- We have great staff who serve the mission from their hearts
- We have excellent medical and dental practitioners who love their patients who meet the increasing credentialing requirements of FTCA
- We are a designated Patient Centered Medical home where we are taking patients to successful healthy management
- We are in the process of accreditation with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)
- We have a solid Quality Assurance / Quality Improvement program that reports to the Board of Directors
- We have an excellent risk management program that reviews quality and safety issues
- We have a Corporate Compliance program that assures accountability and challenges us with continuous improvement
Providing quality health care is a challenging hill we are not afraid to face. We enjoy the fact that we lead in providing quality care to the most challenging health care issues our patients bring to us. We are proud of what we do, because we do it well.