With 30 million more Americans able to now gain access to health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the demand for high-quality primary care physicians will be increasing dramatically. This situation has a significant impact on the region, as Western North Carolina has already surpassed a shortage of over 100 primary care physicians. This shortage is expected to increase over the coming decades. Combined with an aging population, this increasing shortage of physicians will place a tremendous stress on our health care system.
Blue Ridge Community Health Services (BRCHS), Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), and Pardee Hospital have proactively responded to the need with a collaboration to increase the number of newly graduated doctors entering the family medicine residency in Hendersonville.
Under the Teaching Health Center program, MAHEC will increase the number of residents entering its Hendersonville Family Medicine Residency; and the outpatient clinical site the Hendersonville Family Health Center(HFHC), currently operated by Pardee Hospital, will be assumed by Blue Ridge Community Health Services. Patients at HFHC and BRCHS will experience minimal, if any, changes to their services and a focus on high quality, personalized primary care will continue at both locations.
Geoff Jones, MD, MAHEC's Director of the Family Medicine Residency Program says, "Our mission is to train excellent family physicians for western North Carolina and to improve the overall health of our community. This enhanced collaboration will strengthen our ability to meet this goal through greater access to comprehensive care."Currently the MAHEC/Pardee Hendersonville Family Medicine program has graduated 35 residents since 1999, with 90% of those graduated currently practicing in small towns and/or community health centers. Community health centers are community-based and patient-directed organizations that provide comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services to medically underserved communities and vulnerable populations.
By utilizing grant dollars made available to MAHEC by the ACA under the "Teaching Health Center" program, the planned collaboration will not only increase the number of family medicine physicians training locally, but will also increase access for patients who struggle with poverty, a lack of health insurance, and other barriers to accessing healthcare. This grant funding is designed to support primary care and dental residents trained in community health center settings. The collaboration will represent the first Teaching Health Center (THC) in Western North Carolina and only the second in the state. THCs provide an optimal training environment for graduate medical education, given their close faculty supervision and the emphasis on patient-centered care.
As the largest community health center in Western North Carolina, serving 20,000 individuals in over eight locations, offering behavioral health, oral health, school health and outreach services, BRCHS will offer residents valuable clinical learning experience.
Shannon Dowler, MD, BRCHS Chief Medical Officer says, "Teaching Health Centers are a unique opportunity to offer training to primary care doctors in the communities that need them the most. Research shows that physicians trained in this environment are more likely to pursue careers treating vulnerable populations in rural and underserved communities, increasing access to health care where it is needed the most."
Physicians completing their training in a community health center environment are more than three times as likely to work in a community health center, and more than twice as likely to work in an underserved area than those not trained in a community health center. This Teaching Health Center will not only increase the number of residents training within the community and increase access to quality care for local patients struggling with poverty, but also significantly increase the supply of quality physicians serving the community for years to come.
BRCHS is a non-profit community health center that has been providing high quality and affordable medical, dental and mental health care as well as promoting health awareness/education for 50 years. Services are conveniently provided in Hendersonville at Blue Ridge Health Center and Hendersonville Family Health Center; in Brevard at Brevard Health Center; and in four Henderson County Public Schools. If you would like more information about BRCHS services, call 692-4289; or visit www.brchs.com and www.facebook.com/BRCHS.
MAHEC provides quality, compassionate healthcare as a foundation for training top physicians, dentists and health professionals for WNC. Established in 1974, MAHEC serves 16-counties and has residency and fellowship programs in Family Medicine, Ob/Gyn, General Dentistry, Geriatric Medicine, and Hospice/Palliative Medicine. MAHEC also provides continuing education for health professionals, health careers training for high school and university students, and quality improvement consulting services for medical practices. MAHEC is "Your Doctor. Your Teacher. Your Advocate." For more information, call 257-4400 or visit www.mahec.net.
Pardee Hospital is a not-for-profit community hospital founded in 1953 and is managed by UNC Health Care. The hospital is licensed for 222 acute care beds. The hospital has several locations separate from the main campus and a comprehensive physician practice network. For more information or to find a physician, call 1-866-790-WELL (9355) or visit www.pardeehospital.org
Pardee Hospital has received an A Hospital Safety Score from The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit group dedicated to improving safety, quality and affordability of health care. Pardee was the only hospital within Henderson County to receive an A rating. This top grade reflects Pardee’s commitment to quality and safety.
The Leapfrog Group uses a wide range of publicly available data to assign grades to US hospitals based on their overall ability to keep patients safe from infections, injuries and medical errors. It is the only hospital safety rating to be peer-reviewed in the Journal of Patient Safety, and is designed to give the public information they can use to protect themselves as well as their families.
“This ranking is a testament to the continued improvement of quality, safety, and commitment to compassionate care at Pardee Hospital,” said Jay Kirby, President and CEO, Pardee Hospital.
“Pardee Hospital consistently has been recognized by numerous organizations for its outstanding clinical quality and patient safety. The LeapFrog Hospital Safety Score is an independent composite safety rating developed by a panel of national patient safety experts. The intent is to provide health care professionals and health care consumers with a standardized method for comparing safety performance among various general acute care hospitals. Less than one-third of the over 2,600 hospitals in the United States receive an A rated safety score. Pardee Hospital is pleased to receive this highest recognition by the LeapFrog Group as an affirmation of the hospital’s commitment to health care excellence,” Robert Kiskaddon, M.D., FACEP, Chief Medical Officer, Vice President Medical Affairs, Pardee Hospital.
To see how Pardee's score compares nationally and locally, visit Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Score website, which also provides information on how the public can protect themselves and loved ones during a hospital stay.
Leapfrog is run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits. The group works to improve the safety, quality and affordability of health care for Americans. Calculated under the guidance of the group’s eight-member Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 26 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to produce a single score. The panel includes: John Birkmeyer (University of Michigan), Ashish Jha (Harvard University), Arnold Millstein (Stanford University), Peter Pronovost (Johns Hopkins University), Patrick Romano (University of California, Davis), Sara Singer (Harvard University), Tim Vogus (Vanderbilt University), and Robert Wachter (University of California, San Francisco).
On May 21, 2013 WLOS completed a feature story on the Gift of Life recipient Princess, and her mother Dina. In 2011 Princess was involved in a house fire where she received third degree burns on a majority of her body, leaving her with scar tissue limiting the use of her hands and significantly altering her appearance.
Rotary International, Philippine Airlines, Mercy Medical Airlift and Pardee Hospital worked together to bring Princess to Hendersonville, in order to undergo a series of surgeries to help improve her quality of life. Princess and her mother will remain in Hendersonville until the middle of August in order to undergo the treatments, follow-up care and physical therapy.
Please take the time to watch this fantastic story, which serves as a reminder of the fantastic charity care efforts of Pardee Hospital.
The Comprehensive Cancer Center at Pardee has been honored with the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons.
Established in 2004, the CoC Outstanding Achievement Award is designed to recognize cancer programs that strive for excellence in providing quality care to cancer patients. A facility receives the OAA following an on-site evaluation by a physician surveyor during which the facility demonstrates a Commendation level of compliance with seven standards that represent the full scope of the cancer program and also receives a compliance rating for the remaining 29 standards.
"Speaking for all of the individuals involved with the Comprehensive Cancer Program at Pardee, we are excited to learn of our facility receiving the Commission on Cancer's Outstanding Achievement Award for excellence in cancer services," said Thomas Eisenhauer, M.D., F.A.C.S., Chairman of the Cancer Committee at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Pardee. "This recognition cannot be obtained by one or two people, but is only attainable when a large number of providers consistently work together to deliver oncology services to our patients. We know the care that we provide is the best available. Our patients continually express gratitude for the exceptional care that they receive. And now our community, through this prestigious award, will realize the outstanding cancer services available through Pardee."
Established in 1922 by the American College of Surgeons, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care. Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons and 42 national organizations that reflect the full spectrum of cancer care.
The Accreditation Program, a component of the CoC, sets quality-of-care standards for cancer programs and reviews the programs to ensure they conform to those standards. Accreditation by the CoC is given only to those facilities that have voluntarily committed to providing the highest level of quality cancer care and that undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance. To maintain accreditation, facilities with CoC-accredited cancer programs must undergo an on-site review every three years.
The Comprehensive Cancer Center at Pardee offers a full range of advanced treatment and diagnostic services performed by highly qualified cancer specialists. Services include surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, advanced radiology and laboratory diagnostic support and clinical treatment trials. Community education programs, cancer screenings, support groups and holistic patient and family support are also available.