Improving Patient Health
Duchesne Clinic is a doctor's office for low-income uninsured adults. In order to qualify for services, patients must have no insurance, not even Medicaid or Medicare, have incomes at or below 150% of the federal poverty level, and reside in Wyandotte County.
In 2010, Duchesne Clinic saw 2,244 patients, over 20% of which of which were new to the clinic, provided 12,416 patient visits and services, and helped our patients access specialty care, well-woman care, labs and x-rays, and over 3000 medications worth over $1,500,000.
By serving only patients with no health insurance, Duchesne Clinic fills an important need in Wyandotte County. As is true with most safety-net clinics, by the time a person comes to Duchesne Clinic to become our patient, they have often waited a long time to seek care, are very sick and have complex medical conditions that are poorly controlled and require significant resources to get under control. Our highly dedicated staff and volunteers do everything they can to find volunteer providers who will accept referrals for our patients and serve patients for free or at greatly reduced costs. While not every need can be met, we are able to meet with much success in getting the care our patients need.
The central focus of Duchesne Clinic is to improve the health of people who otherwise would not receive care. We measure how well we achieve this though patient surveys and reviews of service data. The strongest measure of clinical effectiveness is Duchesne Clinic's evidence-based, patient-centered Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program. Through a random sampling of the medical charts of established patients, Duchesne Clinic measures quality of care as well as patient health outcomes every three months. The CQI review is conducted by medical volunteers not involved in direct patient care.
Duchesne Clinic is committed to achieving health improvements for all patients. Current patient care measures address care consistency, well-woman care, smoking cessation, and chronic disease management. Current patient health outcome measures focus on our single largest patient group; the 65% of our patients who have diabetes. Measures include control of blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels.
Increasing Access to Healthcare
Serving the People of Wyandotte County: Duchesne Clinic's target population mirrors the poverty demographics of Wyandotte County. Our patients are poor or low-income, nearly 70% are women, about 60% are Latino, just over 20% are Caucasian, just under 20% are African-American. Behind the statistics are the lives of people who struggle to make ends meet, working sporadically or for small employers that are not able to offer health benefits. Our patients know that without a safety net clinic, they would likely have no other avenue to seek treatment.
In caring for the people of Wyandotte County for over twenty years, the services of Duchesne Clinic have grown and changed to meet the emerging and crucial needs specific to this community.
Responding to Community Needs: The clinic meets the priority health care needs for the uninsured adult populations of Wyandotte County by providing primary healthcare (urgent care, chronic disease management and preventive care), medication assistance and referrals for specialty care.
The availability of primary healthcare for the uninsured helps to keep people from accessing care at hospital emergency departments, and helps them to better manage chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, which if untreated lead to complications and possible hospitalization.
In 2009, Duchesne Clinic provided a timely and crucial service to the people of Wyandotte County in response to the H1N1 flu epidemic. The clinic served as a community health monitoring site for the CDC, and was able to put in place a policy of presumptive eligibility for any person who came to the clinic with flu-like symptoms. The clinic had H1N1 flu vaccines and same-day appointments for patients with flu-like symptoms.
Helping to Build a Stronger Community
Impact of Access to Healthcare on Wyandotte County
Duchesne Clinic fulfills an important function in Wyandotte County. In addition to serving the people of Wyandotte County by providing access to quality, compassionate healthcare, Duchesne Clinic also helps to create a vital community by decreasing the impact of uninsurance rates on community economic development and social services resources and helping to improve the workforce productivity by keeping people healthy and working.
Impacting Economic Development and Social Service Resources
Duchesne Clinic contributes to the social and economic vitality of Wyandotte County by mitigating the effects of poverty and uninsurance on finite community resources.
When people are unable to access quality healthcare, the costs to a community are substantial. People without healthcare are unable to control the effects of chronic disease, and therefore are less likely to be able to care for family, achieve and maintain full employment, or increase wage earning capacity through school and training. Families are less financially stable because of decreased wages and/or medical debt. Families are less socially stable due to the stress of medical and financial consequences of lack of healthcare.
In communities without safety-net clinics, there is an increased risk of losing health care capacity because of over- and improper use of emergency services, overburdened medical providers limiting access or leaving the community, and cuts in public health programs like communicable disease surveillance.
Access to quality primary healthcare has been shown to have positive effects on a community's economy and social well-being. The demonstrated positive effects include increased public health system capacity, improved population health, fewer costs associated with uncompensated care from other medical providers in the community, increased workforce productivity, and decreased public program costs related to family financial stress.