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.

Learn about Social Media & Suicide Prevention

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Sept. 5-11 is National Suicide Prevention Week. At Swope Health, we recognize it as an opportunity to share information about what you can do to help prevent suicide.

Swope Health invites you to join us for a free webinar discussion from noon to 1 pm Wednesday Sept. 8.  Join the webinar: https://swopehealth.zoom.us/j/92637287315 

The event features Bart Andrews, Ph.D., the Chief Clinical Officer at Behavioral Health Response, a Missouri non-profit organization that provides 24-hour access to mental health services and counseling.

Dr. Andrews will speak on Social Media and Suicide Prevention.

Join this presentation to learn the facts about social media and suicide, the problems with media coverage of health/science and what behavioral health providers should know about social media, technology and suicide prevention.

Dr. Andrews is the past Chair of Missouri’s Suicide Prevention Network, member of the Suicide Lifelines Standards, Training, Practices (STP) committee, a member of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center Steering Committee, a ZeroSuicide Academy Faculty member and member of the American Association of Suicidology’s Executive Committee.

Dr. Andrews started at Behavioral Health Response as a crisis intervention clinician in 1998, and has dedicated the last 17 years of his life to suicide and crisis intervention. He is a person in recovery and a suicide attempt survivor. Dr. Andrews believes that the path to suicide prevention must be framed within the context of relationships, community, and culture, and that suicide is a community health problem, which everyone can help to address.

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline organization encourages conversation and education about suicide as a means of prevention. By starting a conversation, individuals – you – can provide support and direct others to help to save lives.

The organization notes that talking about support is a meaningful step in preventing suicide. Crisis counseling is available to everyone who needs it. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers 24/7 free and confidential support.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people and the tenth-leading cause of death in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on 2019 data.

Join us:

Noon, Wednesday, Sept. 8
Free webinar: https://swopehealth.zoom.us/j/92637287315




Free COVID-19 Vaccinations Saturday, Sept. 4

Swope Health provides COVID-19 vaccinations at labor event

Swope Health will provide free COVID-19 vaccinations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4 at the Laborers Local 663, 7820 Prospect Ave., Kansas City, MO 64132.

The Pfizer vaccine will be available to individuals age 12 and up. Individuals age 18 and under must have a parent or guardian present to receive the vaccination.  While receiving your vaccination, you can make arrangements for your second dose.

This event is sponsored by the Greater Kansas City Building and Construction Trades Council, the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO, and the A. Phillip Randolph Institute (APRI).

The event will feature food boxes, provided by Harvesters, and gift cards for individuals who receive the vaccination, provided by the labor organizations and APRI. Information on labor apprenticeships will also be available at the event.

Walk-ups welcome!

Vaccinations at 18th & Vine First Friday

Swope Health offers COVID-19 vaccinations at Jazz District First Friday


Swope Health will provide free COVID-19 vaccinations from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3, at the First Friday event in the Jazz District.

The Pfizer vaccine will be available to individuals age 12 and up. Individuals age 18 and under must have a parent or guardian present to receive the vaccination.  While receiving your vaccination, you can make arrangements for your second dose.

This event is sponsored by Soiree Steak & Oyster House, 1512 E. 18th St., Kansas City, MO 64108.

Walk-ups welcome!

On the first Friday of every month, the businesses in the 18th & Vine Jazz District are holding a First Fridays event (both indoors and outdoors). Admission is free.

This event includes live music, local art and craft vendors, food trucks, dancing, and more.

Swope Health Celebrates with Operation Breakthrough!

Sunday afternoon was full of blue skies, games, and smiles at Operation Breakthrough’s 50th anniversary Family Reunion – a picnic and street fair for member families and program alumni.

Despite sultry temperatures, kids played pickleball and line-danced in the street at Operation Breakthrough’s campus at 3039 Troost Ave. About 150 families participated in the afternoon festivities, which included water tables, shaved ice and snacks, face painting, temporary tatoos and a DJ playing music.

Swope Health was there celebrating too, announcing our new dental clinic opening soon in the lower level at Sister Corita’s place.

From this new clinic, Swope Health KidsCare will provide comprehensive and preventive dental services for children enrolled in Operation Breakthrough, and eventually, for their families and members of the community.

“Congratulations to Operation Breakthrough on your 50th anniversary,” said Dr. Megan Krohn, Executive Vice President of Dental Services for Swope Health, during a brief program. “We are so happy to be here to join the Operation Breakthrough family and we can’t wait to meet you all.”

From the Operation Breakthough KidsCare Clinic, the Swope Health dental team will provide comprehensive exams, cleanings, radiographs, fluoride treatment and sealants. In addition, the Swope Health team offers nutrition counseling, home care instruction, restorative treatment and follow-up care coordination.

Work is currently underway to renovate the clinic site, and in early 2022, an expansion will bring new equipment, an updated X-ray unit, a new dental room and a bigger lobby. The clinic will have a full-time dental team.

Members of the KidsCare dental team and other Swope Health associates were on hand to share toothbrushes, toothpaste, timers, healthy snacks and other items with families.

“We’re looking forward to being part of the next 50 years of the Operation Breakthrough community,” said Dr. Krohn.

New precautions to protect patients: CALL BEFORE YOU COME

With the rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the Kansas City metro area, Swope Health is implementing additional changes to create a safer environment for patients and associates.

Effective immediately, if you are seeking a walk-in appointment, YOU SHOULD CALL FIRST! Before you come, call: 816-923-5800.

We will ask to conduct a telehealth appointment rather than have you come to our facilities. You will be able to meet with a clinician from the safety and comfort of your home – especially important if you are not feeling well.

We have implemented a new telehealth platform that is even easier than our previous methods. Now, when you are scheduled for a telehealth appointment, you will receive a text with a link to start your appointment.

Once you click on the link, you enter your date of birth and the telehealth application verifies your camera and sound are on, and then you’re ready for your visit. Learn more about the telehealth visit in this downloadable summary (Also available in Spanish.)

Remember: if you are seeking a same-day walk-in appointment CALL 816-923-5800 FIRST.  

We will also be scheduling as many appointments as possible using telehealth same-day or within the next business day, an effort to reduce contact between patients and with associates. It’s a way to demonstrate our commitment to creating a safe, healthy environment and protecting our community from the spread of COVID-19.

As another example of our commitment to public safety and protecting our community, Swope Health has implemented a policy requiring all associates to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. This policy applies to all associates, including contractors, temporary help, students and volunteers. It applies at all locations, including for associates working remotely.

If you come to any Swope Health facility, remember that you must wear a mask at all times. Before you enter, you’ll be asked a series of screening questions and your temperature will be scanned. If you have an elevated temperature and any positive answers to the screening questions, you will be directed to a separate clinic – a way to further limit your contact with others.

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.

Finally, we encourage you to join us leading the fight against the spread of COVID-19: Get vaccinated. Wear a facemask indoors. Maintain physical distance from others, especially indoors. Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Learn the facts:

CDC: COVID-19 Variants
CDC: Delta Variant Science

From the CDC:
Level of Community Transmission in Jackson County, Missouri, is HIGH

Join us for COVID-19 Town Hall — 6 pm Tuesday, Aug. 10

Dr. Naiomi Jamal, Swope Health’s Chief Quality Officer, will participate in a special online Town Hall on COVID-19 starting at 6 pm Tuesday Aug. 10.

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

The town hall, sponsored by 107.3 FM, will be broadcast live on Facebook. Watch on the 107-3 FACEBOOK PAGE

The Town Hall, “The Real Deal on the COVID-19 Vaccine,” features other Kansas City healthcare experts with Dr. Jamal in questions and discussion led by Darron Story of 107.3FM.

Topics will include guidance on the COVID-19 delta variant and information about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr. Jamal heads the Department of Quality and Population Health at Swope Health. She is responsible for organization wide clinical quality, performance and process improvement, along with Population Health initiatives geared toward meeting the quadruple aim of improving provider and patient experience, improving population health outcomes and resource stewardship.

She also practices as a primary care physician through the Independence clinic and sees a variety of complex medical diagnoses.

Dr. Jamal is on faculty at University of Missouri/Kansas City where she is responsible for developing and delivering a preventive medicine and public health curriculum for family medicine residents. She is also responsible for the didactic lecture series Social and Structural Determinants of Health at the UMKC School of Medicine for Medical Students.


Swope Health Supports Operation Backpack

Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw is inviting KCMO residents to celebrate students going back to school by joining her and a host of community sponsors, including Swope Health, for Operation Backpack on Saturday, Aug. 7, at Swope Park.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will offer backpacks, school supplies, tablets and food. The event also include free Wi-Fi hotspot giveaways.

Parks-Shaw, who represents the 5th District, said she believes this will really help meet the needs of many residents who have been hit hard financially by the pandemic.

“I’m so thankful for all of our sponsors and volunteers who have really stepped up to make sure this giveaway is going to be successful this year,’’ Parks-Shaw said. “I know we’re all dealing with our own issues, but we must remember parents and students who need our help and we simply can’t let them down.”

We look forward to seeing you at Swope Park on Saturday!

After Challenges of 2020, Stage is Set for Big Progress in 2021 & Beyond

In support of patient populations that face unique health challenges brought by socioeconomic disparities, Swope Health served 40,000-plus people in 2020. Of those patients, 64 percent lived below the federal poverty level; more than 2,800 were experiencing homelessness; and almost seven out of 10 were Black or Hispanic.

The pandemic added a new layer of complications for many patients served by Swope Health. The disproportionate economic impact widened the gap even further for access to basic care, COVID-19 testing, and vaccines; along with higher mortality rates as fewer patients sought treatment for chronic health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Swope Health responded by expanding its outreach to meet patients in their communities for care, treatment, testing, and many other support services. The team brought COVID-19 testing events to 80 metro locations including schools, community centers, and support/recovery programs – and those efforts now include regular vaccination clinics. Swope Health quickly ramped up its telemedicine offerings; prioritized coping skills, job education and training; and held back-to-school events with supplies for children and families.

Swope Health also worked to drive change among government and health agencies, civic groups and stakeholders. The team supported voter registration efforts and led community discussions on racism and health injustice. In addition, Jeron Ravin, JD, Swope Health President and CEO, was appointed this year by Mayor Quinton Lucas to serve on Kansas City’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, with the goal of ensuring equitable and efficient COVID-19 vaccine distribution across the city.

The successes of last year through a very challenging time, as demonstrated in the recently published annual report for 2020, have added to the foundation of Swope Health’s commitment to service that it has built for more than 50 years.

“In looking back at 2020, we are even more energized and committed to driving lasting change today,” Ravin said. “Our mission is built on improving the health and wellness of the community by delivering accessible, high-quality patient care with joy in service. And we are just getting started.”

Now, through 2021 and beyond, Swope Health’s proactive steps toward addressing health inequities for a stronger and healthier community include:

  • An approach of whole-person patient care, including physical, emotional and behavioral health
  • Prioritizing comprehensive care and services for children
  • Serving and advocating for patients wherever they are in the community
  • Breaking down barriers to care
  • Fighting systemic health injustices
  • Securing more community partnerships

This year brings some exciting progress toward meeting these goals, including a capital campaign and planned groundbreaking on the new PACE KC Adult Wellness Center to support Jackson County’s first Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The PACE program is designed to provide qualified Jackson County residents age 55 and older with a full range of personalized health and wellness services, so they can age gracefully in their home communities.

Other key developments include the recent redesign of the Swope Health Central Pharmacy facility, with a new drive-through lane for safe, fast and easy prescription services; and the October 2021 opening of the first Swope Health Kids Care Clinic at the Emmanuel Family & Child Development Center, offering pediatric primary care, dental care, and behavioral health programs.

“We are honored and thrilled to lead the way in serving and caring for our local communities that need it most,” Ravin said. “With a dedication to an integrated model of healthcare that answers the challenges for all patient populations in Kansas City, we invite everyone to join us in our march toward making care visible and forging a path to health equity.”

Swope Health’s 2020 Annual Report is at https://swopehealth.org/who-we-are/history/. You can also download a PDF copy of the report. Go directly to the Flipbook version: https://online.fliphtml5.com/ochel/nbkf/#p=1


Looking Forward to National Health Center Week

National Health Center Week, which takes place each year to spotlight the valuable work and accomplishments of America’s health centers, is set for Aug. 9-13. Swope Health will celebrate with its own events and special days of focus.

Swope Health will mark the week by honoring the people we serve and showing appreciation for the numerous individuals and groups who are so instrumental in helping us carry out our mission:

  • Monday, Aug. 9: Healthcare for the Homeless Day
  • Tuesday, Aug. 10: Community Partner Appreciation Day
  • Wednesday, Aug. 11: Patient Appreciation Day
  • Thursday, Aug. 12: Stakeholder Appreciation Day
  • Friday, Aug. 13: Staff Appreciation Day

National Health Center Week has been observed for more than 30 years in acknowledgement of health centers as a beacon of strength, service and care in their communities. Swope Health is proud to fill that role in Kansas City with the assistance of many supporters. The events of the week shine a light on our stake in community health, paving the way to meeting our patients’ needs and driving a more equitable healthcare system for all.

“This week is always a special one at Swope Health because it accentuates our critical role in caring for the people in our community who need it most,” said Jeron Ravin, JD, Swope Health President and CEO. “As part of our mission to provide accessible, quality healthcare in Greater Kansas City, we will build upon these opportunities to share our story so we can encourage greater collaboration and take meaningful steps toward lasting change.”

Ravin added: “National Health Center Week also prompts us to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributes to the work we do – our staff members who make Swope Health so indispensable; our donors, stakeholders and partners who have joined our commitment to making care visible; and all our patients, who are such a joy to serve. We look forward to a week of well-deserved celebration and recognition, while maintaining our focus on a brighter future for health in Kansas City.”