TROY – A $50,000 grant from the FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation assisted with the start-up costs for the FirstHealth Transition Care Clinic (TCC) that opened in Troy earlier this month. These one-time costs include clinical equipment and supplies, office supplies, licenses and fees, computers, printers and phones.
FirstHealth’s TCC project previously received a three-year $450,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those funds will be used for staff costs at the clinic in Troy as well as similar programs that will open at the Moore Regional Hospital-Hoke Campus and Richmond Memorial Hospital later this year.
According to Chair Debby Barden, members of the FirstHealth Montgomery Board decided to award the Foundation grant after hearing a presentation from Dan R. Barnes, D.O., president of the FirstHealth Physician Group and a provider of medical care at the TCC at Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst.
“After hearing Dr. Barnes’ presentation, we felt that a transition care clinic at FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital could really bring about positive health care outcomes for some of our most vulnerable citizens,” Barden says.
Hospital President Beth Walker agrees, calling the grant “a great way to utilize our Foundation’s dollars.”
“We were excited to be able to share the purpose of the Transition Care Clinic with the Foundation Board and have them recognize the impact it can have on our community,” she says.
Located in the Medical Arts Building that is connected to Montgomery Memorial Hospital, the Montgomery TCC is modeled on the Moore Regional program that opened last fall. It operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m. and offers medically focused services for patients who struggle to manage such chronic disease conditions as hypertension, heart failure, COPD and diabetes.
Thanks to the program’s multidisciplinary nature, patients have the opportunity to consult with a medical provider, pharmacist, health coach, certified diabetes educator/registered dietitian, respiratory therapist and a nurse. In addition, depression and anxiety screenings will be offered to determine each patient’s eligibility for behavioral services.
During their 30 days of TCC eligibility, patients can also be linked to available community programs and resources that will assist them in the self-management of their chronic condition.
In addition to the patient self-management component, the TCC project will help create a chronic disease care model that will eventually be incorporated into the services provided by FirstHealth primary care clinics.
“We want to see what will work in rural, small health care situations,” says Roxanne Elliott, policy director of FirstHealth Community Health Services. “We will be looking for doctor and patient feedback in terms of clinical outcomes and quality of life.”
Veteran registered nurse Teresa Hunsucker, R.N., will continue her current role as Montgomery Memorial’s transitions nurse for advanced heart failure and Emergency Department patients while also coordinating services for the Troy TCC program. Patients are seen within 48 to 72 hours of their discharge from any FirstHealth hospital, and referrals can be made by either a hospitalist or emergency department physician.
After patients are discharged from the program, they are referred back to their primary care provider. If they do not have a primary care provider, the clinic’s staff can link them to a primary care home.
The FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation provides an opportunity for the community to support, through charitable donations, health care programs and allied services that are targeted to assist the underserved populations including Montgomery County’s children, isolated elderly and the working poor. For more information on the FirstHealth Montgomery Foundation or how to support these initiatives, please call (910) 695-7500.
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