New Treatment Model Targets Improved Patient Outcomes at Northern Virginia Free Clinic

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CareFirst Grant Supports up to 150 Chronically Ill Adults Under New Care Model at Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic

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"This grant, and others to be awarded throughout our service region, target safety net health centers that serve everyone, regardless of insurance or ability to pay,” said Jon P. Shematek, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer.

The Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic (JSFC) has received a CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) grant to expand its Shared Medical Appointment program, a treatment model designed to increase clinic capacity, maximize staff and volunteer efficiency, and empower patients to engage in their own health care outcomes. The $50,000 CareFirst grant will allow the clinic to serve as many as 150 chronically ill patients in Fairfax County, an expansion of the Clinic’s original pilot group of 15 patients.

Shared medical appointments deliver routine and follow-up care in small group settings, in this case for the chronically ill. The visits are voluntary and provide secure and interactive environments for patients to have access to physicians, nurse practitioners and specially trained chronic disease and wellness educators that can provide treatment and counseling as a health care team. Patients benefit from the ability to interact and support other patients experiencing similar health issues. Educators offer counseling on diabetes, blood pressure, nutrition, and other healthy behaviors to improve the overall wellness of program participants.

The expanded JSFC Shared Medical Appointment program will provide:

  • Up to 700 patient visits through the group visit model (up to 150 individual patients), creating action plans for each participant
  • Medication and education on nutrition and exercise
  • Monitoring of health indicators for all patients

Outcomes expected through the program include:

  • An overall increase in clinic capacity by 15 percent
  • Lower blood pressure readings in 60 percent of participating high blood pressure patients
  • Lower blood sugar levels in 60 percent of participating diabetes patients

“Our Shared Medical Appointment program enhances the impact that our care teams can have improving chronic care for Fairfax County’s uninsured and impoverished,” said JSFC President Chris Oliver, M.D. “We appreciate the partnerships we have with organizations such as CareFirst that recognize the community benefits of programs designed to remove disparities in health care access and improve the overall health of patients with chronic conditions.”

The Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic provides a medical home for 1,400 patients by providing comprehensive care through 5,000 medical visits per year. The organization serves children and adults who have household incomes at 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level and no insurance or Medicaid.

"This grant, and others to be awarded throughout our service region, target safety net health centers that serve everyone, regardless of insurance or ability to pay,” said Jon P. Shematek, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. “There are many such health centers in our region, including the Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic, that do an excellent job of meeting the needs of the communities they serve. We believe the medical home model can enhance the effectiveness of this vital segment of our region's health care system."

The Jeanie Schmidt Clinic was founded under the name Herndon Free Clinic in 2002 with a mission to provide health care to people in need through a network of volunteers. The organization serves children and adults. Services are offered to any child living in Fairfax County in a household with income of 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level. Services include non-emergency medical care, health screenings, school and sports physicals, flu shots, medications, specialty referrals, obesity prevention programs and dental and vision screenings. Adult services provide comprehensive care for chronic diseases, specifically high blood pressure and diabetes. Adult services are offered to adults in Herndon, Reston, Chantilly and Centreville.

In its 74th year of service, CareFirst, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health care company which, through its affiliates and subsidiaries, offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to nearly 3.4 million individuals and groups in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. In 2010, CareFirst contributed $56 million to community programs designed to increase the accessibility, affordability, safety and quality of health care throughout its market areas. To learn more about CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, visit our Web site at http://www.carefirst.com or follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CareFirst_News.

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