Silver City Health Center (SCHC), located in the Argentine community of Kansas City, Kan., has been managed by KU HealthPartners since July 2006, in a collaborative venture that brings the University of Kansas School of Nursing and School of Health Professions into partnership with the School of Medicine, which formerly operated the clinic. This partnership strengthens operating efficiencies, expands health education and prevention programs, and promotes interdisciplinary services to meet the health disparities of Wyandotte County residents.
Silver City Health Center exists to address the primary care, health education, and health prevention issues that impede health and well-being; and impact the illness, injury and chronic disease trajectories of residents in Wyandotte County. The clinic commits to and provides high-quality, culturally-sensitive, and holistic services within the limited resources available to many residents in need of care. Our services include comprehensive primary care, including pharmacy assistance and referral coordination, health education and community outreach aimed at prevention, and tailored programs that ameliorate or substantially reduce the effects of chronic disease. In addition, a community partnership enables us to offer onsite mental health services for all ages.
Silver City Health Center assumes an active leadership role in many of the activities of the safety net community in Wyandotte County, and is an active participant in two groups which foster safety net collaboration – the metropolitan-wide Safety Net Collaborative and the Wy/Jo Counties Safety Net Coalition. Collaborative efforts in both groups take the form of formal and informal networking; focused meetings to identify the needs of our patient populations and to explore joint opportunities to improve access to care; and, low-cost workshops held for administrators, clinicians and staff members which enable them to learn more about quality improvement and other topics relevant to addressing disparities. Additionally, SCHC actively participates in the Medical Society of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties’ specialist referral network (Wy/Jo Care), which enables us to obtain specialty physician services for our uninsured patients, and serves on the WyJo Care Advisory Committee.
Our academic affiliation with KU Medical Center also allows us to participate in a number of prevention-oriented research projects, which benefit our patients. In the past year, two areas of emphasis were smoking and colon cancer prevention, working with the KU Departments of Preventive and Family Medicine, respectively. These projects offer screening, but also provide for treatment, should our patients be identified as a smoker who wants to quit, or at high risk of colon cancer.
As a community-based health center, SCHC serves English- and Spanish-speaking Argentine community members of all ages. Showing sensitivity to the income and lack of resources available to many of our clients is one way we promote access to care. Silver City utilizes an income-based sliding fee scale for patients without medical insurance, which is updated annually according to Federal Poverty Level guidelines. With a high volume of uninsured patients who qualify for free or discounted care, SCHC's services are a critical resource to the community.
Silver City provides a broad range of primary care, health education, and health prevention services to manage illness, injury and chronic disease. Examples of primary care and prevention services available at SCHC include well baby/child care, immunizations, physical therapy, medical nutrition therapy, sports physicals, vision and hearing screenings, and adult well care. Illness, injury, and chronic care treatments include lifestyle teaching, medication management, performing laboratory testing, minor surgical procedures, managing baseline and longitudinal clinical data (ECG and laboratory testing), and urgent care. Chronic care management aimed at amelioration or reduction of complications is also offered.
SCHC’s documented model of care incorporates fundamentals of evidence-based ambulatory care improvement strategies. The Patient-Centered Medical Home model of care emphasizes patient-centric, multidisciplinary coordination and continuity of integrated care that is achieved with the active engagement of patients and their families and informal caregivers, in collaboration with the patient's provider. Recently awarded the highest level of recognition as a Patient-Centered Medical Home, Silver City Health Center provides evidence-based practice that engages a multidisciplinary team trained in culturally-appropriate patient education and care management strategies.
The Patient-Centered Medical Home is a promising model of health care delivery that aims to improve the quality and efficiency of care. Our goal is to advance SCHC based on successful models used in other communities, better using increasingly scarce healthcare resources by optimizing the appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities of various physician, nurse, and allied health providers. Our tested model of patient- and family-centered care aligns with national, state and regional recommendations for the medical home concept, or as we prefer to call it, the primary care home. An exemplar that highlights our care model is presented in a review of a representative SCHC patient visit with Sara Morales.
Silver City Health Center serves in an active leadership role in many of the activities of the safety net community in Wyandotte County. KU HealthPartners believes our extended lease in the Argentine community delivers a strong message about our intent to remain a robust, viable healthcare provider in this area of the Kansas City community. The KU Schools of Allied Health, Medicine and Nursing, together with the University of Kansas Medical Center, are financially and through our missions committed to enhancing SCHC's multidisciplinary approach to health professions education. We believe a patient-centered model of care and community outreach will enable us to more fully assess healthcare needs and gaps in services, and decrease health disparities, through implementation of programs and services that address these insufficiencies.
Nurse-managed health centers (NMHC) differ from traditional clinics in that prevention and health promotion is emphasized, in addition to treatment of acute and chronic illness. NMHCs provide individualized care focused on holistic needs, including the patient's perception of the health problem and concerns about health and health care. There is an emphasis on wellness and self-care through provision of education and information necessary to make healthy lifestyle choices and health care decisions. A NMHC treats the whole person not just the symptoms or disease. Studies show that nurse-managed clinics are cost-efficient and patient satisfaction is high. Indeed, our semi-annual patient satisfaction scores routinely indicate greater than 94% satisfaction with care received at Silver City. Furthermore, in April 2011, more than 98% told us that they consider SCHC to be their main source of health care, and would recommend us to their family and friends.top of page