Vaccination event POSTPONED

Swope Health and El Centro are postponing the vaccination event scheduled for 3-7 pm Monday, Jan. 10.

We will announce the rescheduled date as soon as it is available. 


Join us 9 am – noon Saturday, Jan. 22, for free food giveaway at Swope Health West, 4835 State Ave., Kansas City, Kan., with partners Harvesters, El Centro and Livable Neighborhoods.

Swope Health Can Help You Take Steps to Prevent Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Month, a time to focus on diabetes awareness, understanding and prevention.

At Swope Health, diabetes prevention and education are always in season.

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood sugar (or glucose) is too high. Normally the body regulates glucose by producing insulin, which helps glucose get converted into energy in your cells. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin, the glucose, which comes from the foods you eat, can’t be converted into energy.

There’s no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed and even prevented.

In 2018, Swope Health launched an innovative program focusing on diabetes prevention. The program, piloted at Swope Health Independence, provided a diabetes checklist used with every patient to look for early signs of diabetes-related complications.. As the primary diabetes-related issues are kidney disease, blindness and amputations, patients were asked to complete lab tests to evaluate kidney function, have a vision screening and receive a foot exam at least once a year.

The vision screening occurs on-site, during the patient’s regular visit, using a hand-held device that sends images to an optometrist for review. Patients don’t need to schedule a separate visit to an optometrist.

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

The focused diabetes checklist is now in use at all Swope Health clinics, said Dr. Naiomi Jamal, Chief Quality Officer at Swope Health.

In addition to the checklist, if any uninsured patients have uncontrolled diabetes, Swope Health provides extra support  through an assigned Nurse Care Manager.

The Nurse Care Manager checks in regularly with the patient, and provides support for any questions about medications, diet or exercise. In addition, the Nurse Care Manager identifies any issues that might serve as barriers to good health, including other medical needs, lack of access to fresh foods or transportation, and behavioral health challenges. Similar services are offered to Medicaid patients with uncontrolled diabetes through Swope Health’s Primary Care Medical Home program

“The Nurse Care Manager develops specific care plans with each patient,” Dr. Jamal said. “We help our patients set goals and achieve them.”

Despite pandemic-related disruptions, the results appear promising.

“We tend to have better outcomes with the personalized care of the Nurse Care Manager,” she said.

Diabetes affects more than 9 percent of the population, according to the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the federal government. It affects one in four people over age 65, and often individuals are unaware they have the disease. Left untreated, diabetes can cause serious health problems including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, foot problems, dental disease and nerve damage.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says an estimated 38,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes in Missouri every year. Additionally, one in three Missourians have “prediabetes,” a condition in which blood glucose is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.

Diabetes-healthy holiday recipe

The holiday season is nearly here, and with it come temptations for unhealthy eating, especially if you are watching your weight or avoiding high glucose levels.

Priscilla Perez Schmidt, Swope Health registered dietitian, has options to help.

“Two important strategies that can help you enjoy traditional ingredients while staying healthy are, one, make your own meals and invite family or friends over, and two, choose desserts that do not have flour in their ingredients,” she said.

“I have developed a recipe that can help you achieve both strategies,” she added. The recipe (below) is easy and healthy — and delicious!



  • 6 apples
  • 2 Tbsp. Truvia sweetener (or any other non-caloric sweetener)
  • 3 Tbsp. margarine
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup granola


  1. Wash and cut the apples with an apple slicer.
  2. Put the apple slices in a large skillet and add the spices (sweetener, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin spice) and margarine.
  3. Cook for 20 minutes in low-medium heat, covered.

One serving is: 1/4 cup apple bake with 1 Tbsp. granola on top and 1 Tbsp. whipped cream.

This recipe serves six. It takes about 25 minutes to prepare and costs about $2.50. It has 25 grams of carbohydrate in each serving.

In comparison,  a store-bought apple pie will cost about $3.85, and serves five with 58 grams of carbohydrate in each serving.

Free Thanksgiving Webinar

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and one of the most important elements for enjoying the holiday is staying healthy! The many carbohydrate-rich seasonal dishes can make this goal challenging if you are trying to avoid weight gain or high glucose levels – especially important for those with diabetes or conditions approaching diabetes.

Swope Health is here to help!

Join us for a free Thanksgiving webinar:
How to Save Dollars and Calories during the Holidays” 

Noon to 12:30 pm Wednesday, November 17
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 920 9678 9566 / Passcode: HOLIDAYS

Priscilla Pérez Schmid, Swope Health’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, will share tips on how to enjoy those holiday gatherings, parties and dinners AND stay on track with your health goals. She will cover topics such as appropriate portions of  carbohydrates  (such as potatoes), easy ways to incorporate veggies, and methods to understand caloric balance needs.

Plus, use Priscilla’s guidance on preparing a simpler (only 10 ingredients) and healthier Thanksgiving dinner—easy on the budget and the calories! Follow along with her recipe, below (or download here).



New precautions to protect patients: Triage, drive-up tests and new clinic

Swope Health continues to make adjustments to create a safer environment for patients and associates.

Before you arrive at Swope Health Central, you should CALL 816-923-5800. If you have concerns about COVID-19 symptoms, you will have a new array of options as well as the recommended telehealth visit from the safety of your home.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, when you call, we’ll determine the next steps:

  • If you are an existing patient, you may receive a COVID-19 test from our drive-up location at Building C. Look for the designated parking spots and call 816-599-5418 when you arrive. When you call, you will be checked in and a nurse will come to your car to do the test. Tests are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and results are returned in 24-48 hours.


  • You may be advised to have a telehealth visit with a Swope Health clinical associate. In this case, you will receive a text with a link to start your appointment. Swope Health is scheduling as many appointments as possible using telehealth same-day or within the next business day, as a precaution for public health and for patient convenience.
  • You may be advised to come to Swope Health for an in-person visit. In this case, you will come to the Building C entrance where you will be assessed by our triage nurse. You will be escorted to our new “sick” clinic in Building C. The sick clinic operates from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

REMEMBER – CALL FIRST: 816-923-5800.

If you come to any Swope Health facility, you must wear a mask at all times. While at Swope Health, we will also encourage you to receive a COVID-19 vaccination if you have not already done so. We are happy to answer your questions about the vaccine and your health.

Swope Health supports Breast Cancer Awareness month

October is the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as designated by the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Throughout the month, Swope Health and other organizations campaign to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer.

At Swope Health, we encourage women to get breast screening examinations to take better care of their own health.

Swope Health Central will offer walk-in mammograms for women age 50 and older from 9 a.m. to noon every Tuesday and Thursday in October. No appointment is necessary, and you don’t need a provider’s order. The fee is $25. 

Breast screenings can be lifesaving. Screenings offer a chance at early detection of breast disease or cancer, and earlier detection means better chances of treatment and recovery.

As in the national campaign, Swope Health will invite women to share personal stories of their breast cancer experiences with a goal of honoring those affected by breast cancer. We will invite you to take a selfie, fill out a card with your information or leave your contact information for us to follow up. With your permission, we’ll share your stories.

Mammograms can be lifesaving.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women age 50 and older receive a mammogram screening for breast cancer every two years. Swope Health encourages this, too.

The screening is basically an X-ray of the breast, usually involving two or more images. These images make it possible to identify tumors that can’t be detected by touch.

Early detection reduces the risk of dying from the disease by 25 percent or more, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note the smaller a tumor is the more likely it is to be curable. So, having regular mammograms lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.

Black and Hispanic women have higher mortality rates of breast cancer than all other races. Women in lower socio-economic levels have disproportionately higher death rates than those in higher income levels.



Swope Health offers mammogram screenings to any woman age 50 or older who hasn’t had a screening in two years, without healthcare insurance. You must be a Swope Health patient. This service is provided under grants from The Research Foundation and Komen Kansas + Western Missouri, an affiliate of Susan G. Komen Foundation. Learn more.


Swope Health launches integrated care pilot, linking primary care & behavioral health

Innovative program, funded by UnitedHealthcare, aims for better health outcomes, quality care at reduced costs

Swope Health today announced the launch of a program to demonstrate the effectiveness of integrated care, a model that teams primary care with behavioral healthcare and community resources.

The program adopts the principles of the Primary Care Behavioral Health Consultation Model, which creates a team for patient care. In the team, primary care providers work hand-in-hand with behavioral health consultants and community health workers. The team approach pays special attention to social determinants of health, such as housing, transportation, food security and other challenges while supporting primary and behavioral healthcare.

“We know the challenges our patients face – in housing, schools, jobs, transportation, access to food, for example – produce negative health effects that can last a lifetime,” said Jeron Ravin, J.D., president and CEO of Swope Health. “Swope Health is demonstrating that health policy can be changed to address all facets of health equity. We will validate a model practice that integrates medical care, behavioral healthcare and social support resources for our patients.”

The program is funded by a grant of $80,000 from UnitedHealthcare. Over the course of the year-long program, Swope Health will track the health metrics to demonstrate improvement. There is significant research to indicate the model can improve health outcomes by addressing mental health issues and support behavior changes to improve treatment of chronic disease.

“We fully support a whole-person care model that increases member engagement, fills gaps in care and develops personalized health goals. When we all work together, we can help people get the right care from the right provider at the right time, which all leads to better health,” said Jamie Bruce, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Missouri.

“This model reduces the stigma surrounding mental health and makes it easier to address social and mental health needs with a team-based care approach embedded in primary care,” said Dr. Naiomi Jamal, Swope Health chief quality officer. “With a team approach, we can assist patients with Medicaid enrollment or securing transportation or food resources, as well as providing counseling and medical care. It all happens in the same visit, in the same location.”

The program is a continuation of Swope Health’s steady integration of services, first initiated in 2014 with a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, and then expanded in 2018 and 2019.

Here’s how it works: when a patient comes for a visit, in addition to the usual conversation about how the patient is feeling, the clinical team also asks about social factors that can impact health – such as access to food, housing and transportation. Other questions explore behaviors, for example, is there a need for improved adherence to chronic disease management regimens or learning coping skills to better manage anxiety and depression? If a need is identified, a member of the team – a community health worker or behavioral health consultant – offers services on site, often during the same visit.

The model is designed to benefit all participants: patients, providers and insurers. The patients receive improved access to care and resources. The insurers benefit from reduced cost of care through fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations. And providers benefit by having better workload management and support.

“We are changing the way we look after our patients at Swope Health,” said Dr. Jamal. “We are taking away barriers. If there’s a need, we will provide help.”


The Integrated Care Team, under the direction of Dr. Naiomi Jamal (far right),  includes the Swope Health Independence medical team as well as a community health worker and a behavioral health consultant.

Dr. Jamal (far right) consults with the Community Health Worker and Behavioral Health Consultant every morning to review integrated care plans for the day’s patients.

Swope Health Celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month!

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer + (LGBTQ+) Pride Month is celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan.

The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts.  Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.

The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally. Swope Health is proud to support LGBTQ+ individuals in June – and every day.

Ryan StokesDr. Ryan Stokes, Clinic Director at Swope Health Belton, provides care for patients with gender dysphoria, which is when a patient’s sex at birth doesn’t match the gender to which they identify. Dr. Stokes works with his patients on hormone therapy, which helps move his patients toward a comfortable level where they feel they can present as their true self.

“The transgender community is definitely marginalized, and it can be difficult for them to find care,” Dr. Stokes said. “With the revocation of transgender healthcare protections, they can be actively turned away for being a transgender patient. As a person of color, I know how difficult it can be to face discriminations like these.  Anything we can do as providers to normalize the LGBTQ+ journey is the compassionate choice.”

Swope Health Supports Inclusivity

In an effort to demonstrate Swope Health’s dedication to inclusivity, pronoun buttons will be available to Swope Health doctors, clinicians and associates. These buttons designate the wearer’s preferred identity, and more importantly, signal awareness and respect for the preferences of others.

A pronoun is as much a part of a person’s identity as their name. And since pronouns should not be assumed based on appearance, many organizations now use pronoun buttons to help people identify themselves. These pins help members of the LGBTQ+ community feel comfortable and help make a conversation around pronouns feel normal.

“Even if you don’t need to wear a pronoun button for people to correctly guess your preference, having the pronouns visible shows our community and patients that they can feel comfortable telling us theirs,” said Dr. Rachel Melson, Director of Provider Engagement.

Learn more

All are invited to attend a webinar featuring Dr. Christy Hutton, a BRITE educator with The Center Project, on Wednesday, June 23 at 12 p.m.


The free event is held on Zoom:

Passcode: 3801

BRITE (Building Respect and Inclusion through Training and Education) is an inclusivity program that focuses on rethinking misconceptions around gender and sexuality, increasing understanding of the LGBTQ+ community and experience, and helping groups identify and develop inclusive practices in their work.

The Center Project is a grassroots nonprofit organization and Mid-Missouri’s only community center focused on the needs of LGBTQ individuals and communities. Designed as a safe and open space, TCP supports the under-served sexuality and gender-based groups within the region, including youth, families, and those living in rural communities.

Raising Awareness of Hepatitis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named May as Hepatitis Awareness Month. The federal health organization wants to raise awareness of what it calls a “hidden epidemic.”

May 19 is declared as National Hepatitis Testing Day.

Swope Health supports the awareness efforts and encourages our community to get tested and learn more about viral hepatitis.


The ABCs of Hepatitis

The CDC offers explanations of the primary types of viral hepatitis: A, B and C.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection, caused by the Hepatitis A virus. The virus can make you sick, and you can spread the virus. There is a vaccination for Hepatitis A, and numbers of cases have declined dramatically. People who are at the greatest risk of Hepatitis A are those who use drugs, experience homelessness, have liver disease, or are or recently were in jail. In addition, men who have sex with men are also at risk.

Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus. People who are infected can have lifelong infection, and over time, the disease can cause serious liver damage or cancer. Hepatitis B is preventable with a vaccine, which is recommended for all infants at birth. This disease is most common in Asia, the Pacific Islands and Africa.

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis C virus. Most people who are infected will have lifelong infection, which can cause serious problems including liver disease or liver failure, or cancer. This disease spreads through contact with blood from an infected person. Most people become infected by sharing needles or syringes in injected drug use. There may not be symptoms of disease. There are an estimated 2.4 million people living with the disease, and many may not know they are infected as they may not have symptoms. Baby boomers (born between 1945 – 1965) make up about 75 percent of those positive for the virus.


Hep C Treatment at Swope Health

Rachel MelsonIn 2019, Swope Health launched a program for Hepatitis C Treatment. Led by Rachel Melson, Doctor of Nursing Practice and Outreach Clinic Director, this program focused on increasing testing for Hep C, and helping those with Hep C obtain treatment.

Since the program began, Dr. Melson has treated and cured over 150 patients. The current treatment is an antiviral drug, a pill that is taken once a day for 8-12 weeks. These antiviral drugs are more than 90 percent effective in curing the disease. “Cured” means the patient has no active Hep C virus in the body three months after finishing the treatment.

“We rarely get to use the word ‘cure’ in medicine,” she said. “But this is such an effective treatment that we have actually been able to cure Hepatitis C. And we could see it eradicated in our lifetimes.”

Anyone who has tested positive for Hepatitis C can call Swope Health to participate in the program – regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay. For more information, call the Hep C Nurse at 816-321-3604.

If you are unsure of your Hep C status, you can ask to be screened at Swope Health. All adults age 18 and older should be tested at least once, and continue to get routine testing if they have risk factors or conditions including HIV infection, injection drug use, recent incarceration or are receiving dialysis. 


Spreading Awareness

Dr. Melson has been recognized for her success with the Swope Health program. She participates in the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Viral Hepatitis Stakeholders Group.

With this group, she has developed a Hepatitis C “toolkit” for other healthcare organizations. The 30-page toolkit includes guidelines for staffing, processes, and clinical practices to help other clinicians ramp up testing and develop specific Hepatitis C practice areas. She will also be providing guidance to other clinicians in the state who are starting to treat Hepatitis C through the Show-Me ECHO platform.

She has been named to a state task force and will present her program and tools for success at a virtual conference supported by Medicaid, the Missouri Primary Care Association, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

“I want to ensure everyone has access to testing and treatment for Hepatitis C,” she said. “To see an end to Hepatitis C, we need more people screened, we need more providers treating Hepatitis C, and we need improved ways to connect people to that care.”

Swope Health launches free mammogram screenings for women without insurance

Innovative grant programs help Swope Health reduce barriers to care

Swope Health is encouraging women to get breast screening examinations to take better care of their own health.

Breast screenings can be lifesaving. Screenings offer a chance at early detection of breast disease or cancer, and earlier detection means better chances of treatment and recovery.

To make it even easier to get a screening, Swope Health is offering mammogram screenings to any woman age 40 or older without healthcare insurance, under grants from The Research Foundation and Komen Kansas + Western Missouri, an affiliate of Susan G. Komen Foundation.

“Our goal is to provide screenings for women who don’t qualify for Medicaid or don’t have private insurance,” said Jennifer Frost, M.D., Interim Chief Medical Officer at Swope Health. “We know the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for women to get screened, and this is our way to make it easier.”

Here are the guidelines:

  • Women who are age 50 to 74 are recommended to have regular screenings every two years. No order is required – you can call 816-599-5870 to make an appointment if you haven’t been screened in the last two years.
  • If you are age 40-49 and want a screening, you should make an appointment with your doctor or clinician, who can discuss the risks and benefits of early screening and order a mammogram if appropriate..
  • If you are having any symptoms, such as pain, discharge or swelling, you should contact your doctor or clinician.
  • There is a $25 fee for all breast screening appointments. Women who do not have insurance or Medicaid will not be billed for the screening beyond the $25 fee.


COVID-19 affected screenings

During the pandemic, the effects of school and work closures, as well as scaled-back hours at many clinics, made it difficult to maintain healthcare routines. Appointments designed to prevent issues before they appeared were often the first to be cancelled.

Several independent research programs have documented significant declines in preventive care visits, such as for mammograms, Pap smears, and childhood exams, during the pandemic. The Health Care Cost Institute, for example, reported a 16 percent decline in mammograms in 2020 from 2019.

Mammograms can be lifesaving.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women age 50 and older receive a mammogram screening for breast cancer every two years. Swope Health encourages this, too.

The screening is basically an X-ray of the breast, usually involving two or more images. These images make it possible to identify tumors that can’t be detected by touch.

Early detection reduces the risk of dying from the disease by 25 percent or more, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note the smaller a tumor is the more likely it is to be curable. So, having regular mammograms lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.

Black and Hispanic women have higher mortality rates of breast cancer than all other races. Women in lower socio-economic levels have disproportionately higher death rates than those in higher income levels.

How it works.

When you are scheduled for your appointment, you should expect to spend about a half an hour in the screening. Your images will be professionally reviewed and you’ll be notified of the results. In the event you are called for an additional screening, called a clinical follow up, those costs also are covered.

Call 816-599-5870 to make your appointment. Guidelines on screenings can be confusing, and we are happy to talk with you about options.



Fact Sheet: African-American Women & Breast Cancer (Breast Cancer Prevention Partners)

Race and Ethnicity (Susan G. Komen Foundation)

Disparities in Breast Cancer: African-American Women (American Cancer Society)