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Entering its 47th year of service, CommuniCare Health Centers is a full service primary health care organization with 13 locations serving residents in Bexar, Kendall, and Hays Counties.
CommuniCare’s mission focuses on improving the health of those we serve with a commitment to excellence in all that we do. Through the use of state of the arts diagnostic equipment, facilities, electronic health records and highly trained healthcare providers and staff; CommuniCare strives to be the premier primary health care system of choice for all patients. The array of services offered include pediatrics, women’s health (Ob-Gyn), family medicine, dentistry, behavioral health, senior care, rheumatololgy, hepatology, and WIC services.
How does CommuniCare stand out today as a primary health care center, in the manner in which it delivers primary care services? CommuniCare’s adaptability to an ever-changing health care environment as well as uniformity in service operations is vital for current and future sustainability and growth. Recognizing that the United Sates health care system accounts for approximately 17-18% of the gross domestic product and is estimated to reach nearly 21% by 2021, it is one of the most expensive in the world. Currently healthcare is and has been driven by volume based visits and by this I mean that the reimbursement of visits is the driving force for the financial viability of clinics, hospitals and private practices. We may be seeing over the next few years the recognition of healthy value based outcomes having a higher reimbursement for health organizations. Maintaining a healthy population is less costly than a chronically ill one.
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement developed an infrastructure coined the Triple Aim in the late 2000’s. The focus is for healthcare institutions to utilize three key components to maximize their performance: (1) through the provision of outstanding quality of care and service maximizing the patient experience of care; (2) if your patient population’s health is improved, and (3) reduced costs in performing all of the aforementioned. In recognition of the Triple Aim, we at CommuniCare saw the need for all three components to work synergistically. Through an integrated model of care, we provide a team based, hassle free approach internally and externally with partnered specialists and hospitals. From the moment patient’s call to schedule appointments or visit our clinics, a navigation process begins to guide them through the often confusing maze of healthcare. Enrollment specialist are available to patients as they assist in finding possible healthcare insurance coverage they may not be aware of, as well as finding funded service resources that reduce or cover medical visits. CommuniCare partnered with pharmacies such as Crawford pharmacy that has a reduced prescription program to eliminate high medication costs as a barrier to treatment. Additionally, Crawford Pharmacy provide prescription delivery service to the home and/or workplaces of our patients thereby providing convenient and enhancing our patients’ experience.
Upon establishing a primary care home with CommuniCare, our patients have access and use of all 13 clinics at their disposal. Internally all services lines are silo free, which means that individuals or families have continuity of care without barriers. For example; a pregnant mother can establish prenatal care upon enrollment have her obstetrician care and deliver her baby at the hospital of her choice. The patient has continued postnatal care and eventually can transition and crosswalk to primary care in family medicine. All medical history, labs, testing and health records are electronic and available internally and externally should the patient choose. Patients are provided availability to schedule appointments and view their medical records through the use of a secure patient portal that can be accessed via website or mobile app. At CommuniCare we strive to treat acute illnesses and manage chronic health issues. Through the provision of patient health education, engaging patient to take greater ownership in the management of their care, early preventive screening of children, adults and seniors. Through these efforts we are providing lower cost preventive medicine rather than late diagnosis and chronic management which is more reactive and costly care.
CommuniCare’s Behavioral Health staff includes psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioners, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors. We provide counseling, and psychiatric services to individuals (adults and children), and their families. The scope of these services is limited to patients that can be assisted by brief outpatient psychiatric and counseling treatment. Such services include individual psychotherapy for anxiety and /or depression, tobacco cessation, diagnostic assessment, medication management, and lastly ADD or ADHD Care from pediatric to age 18 yrs. of age.
The availability of comprehensive dental care for children and adults is vital to the healthy life cycle of an individual. Our dental staff not only treats dental disease, but also educates our patients on the importance of good oral hygiene and proper diet in order to prevent future dental problems.
In conclusion, CommuniCare houses primary care services that are available to all patients and wherever there are barriers to attaining good health a consorted effort is made to eliminate them for patients. We strive to make the patient experience one with services of the highest quality and care. We cannot be everything to everyone, but because we are in tune with our communities and their health needs we proactively track changes in health care needs and illnesses year round. Not all communities use the same services equally and so we as an organization must adapt and be willing to recognize that in an ever changing population we too must adapt to meet community needs.