Students. Parents. Infants. Children. Immigrants. Seniors. People with chronic conditions and those with serious mental illness. Those who have Medicaid, private insurance, or no insurance.
These are some of the more than 26,000 patients that Heartland Health Centers served on Chicago’s North Side in 2018. That’s about 3,000 more patients than we saw the year before. We lived up to our promise to provide high-quality ‘healthcare from the heart:’ the federal government again recognized Heartland Health Centers as a Quality Leader, in the top 30% of federally-supported health centers that achieved the best overall clinical outcomes across the country, last summer.
As a Federally Qualified Health Center, FQHC, part of the public health service, Heartland Health Centers serves as a medical home for our patients. We provide primary care at every stage of a patient’s life, from birth to geriatrics. We are guided in our belief that healthcare is a human right and by our mission to deliver healthcare from the heart. Community support makes our work possible, so we wanted to share a few achievements from the past year, outline goals for 2019, and invite your continued involvement in our work.
Patient-centered care. Medical research supports the idea that shared decision-making and patient-provider communication are key to helping patients increase their understanding of illness and treatment options. Last year 9 out of 10 patients told us they had excellent communication with their providers.
Convenience. Like at every primary-care clinic and doctor’s office, our patients face unforeseen events and schedule conflicts, not to mention concerns about money or nervousness about a doctor visit. In 2018 we added text-message appointment reminders, which helped us reduce missed appointments to 16 percent.
Engaged employees. Supporting our staff insures they can do their best job caring for others. Last year our organization grew to 192 employees in clinical and other roles. We’re proud that 99 percent of our staff recommended Heartland Health Centers as a great place to work.
We’re poised to grow the number of patients we serve again this year, with new sites inside Gale Community Academy in Rogers Park and at Turning Point community mental health center in Skokie, our first suburban clinic. Heartland Health Centers now has 17 sites: 3 integrated-care clinics inside community mental health centers, 7 community clinics, and 7 school-based health centers. Dental care is available for patients at 4 of the sites.
Here are some top goals for 2019:
Serve the community. We anticipate continuing to grow the number of patients we serve to closer to 30,000. Building on our vision of patient-centered care, we have taken steps to create an “innovation center” that will explore new ways to deliver team-based healthcare at HHC-Albany Park to achieve better health outcomes and greater patients and care team satisfaction.
Screen for diseases that impact residents. We will continue to work with partners in the community to increase key screenings for colorectal and cervical cancer. Both diseases disproportionately affect residents of the communities we serve, and both are susceptible to early detection, providing a substantially greater chance for a healthy outcome.
Broaden integrated care to reach more people. We will expand our substance use and Medication Assisted Treatment work as we continue to deliver innovative, team-based physical and behavioral care to our patients at all of our clinics as well as through our partnerships with Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare, and Thresholds.
Join us for our 2019 fundraising events. We plan a spring fundraiser and social event featuring table tennis and giant Jenga games on Friday, April 12 at Spin Chicago. Our annual gala will be held Saturday, October 5, at Venue West. Please watch for more details about each event.
Check out our health education classes and help spread the word. HHC-Devon, HHC-Albany Park, and many other clinics offer health classes from aerobics to cooking to Zumba, nearly every day of the week. Join us or help spread the word; we offer drop-in classes as well as pre-registration classes for patients. Learn more about classes
Look out for your neighbors. Our focus on public health means that beyond caring for our patients’ day-to-day health needs, we also take into account the social determinants of health: the quality of our schools, affordability of our housing, safety of our neighborhoods, and other factors. Here on the North Side of Chicago we all live together: those who have the best of everything, many who are in the deepest need, and everyone in between.
Thank you for reading and please let me know if you have questions or would like to follow up.