Swope Health Wins Three National Quality Improvement Awards

Swope Health is proud to announce it has received three quality improvement  awards from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The three awards total $143,464. The awards are:

  • National Quality Leaders award, for $72,714. This award goes to the top 1 to 2 percent of health centers that meet or exceed national benchmarks. Swope Health was awarded in the area of Behavioral Health. The winning health centers performed depression screening and follow-up on at least 75.9 percent of patients; performed screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment on at least 5 percent of patients; and increased medication-assisted treatment by at least 10 percent from 2017. Swope Health was one of three centers in Missouri to receive this award.
  • Advancing Health Information Technology for Quality, for $10,750. This award recognizes health centers that optimized health information technology (HIT) services for advancing telehealth, patient engagement, interoperability and collection of social determinants of health to increase access to care, and to advance quality of care between 2018 and 2019.
  • Patient-Centered Medical Home Recognition, for $60,000. Swope Health was designated a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) in 2018. The PCMH program focuses on the coordinated organization and delivery of primary care, emphasizing access to quality and safety in comprehensive care services.

“This is a recognition of our achievements in providing high quality healthcare and a demonstration of our commitment to excellence in all aspects of our service,” said Jeron Ravin, JD, president and chief executive of Swope Health. “This recognition places Swope Health in the top rankings of the nation’s health centers.”

Dr. Kenneth Thomas, Director of Pediatrics, who helped spearhead the quality initiatives at Swope Health, said: “These awards illustrate a true integration between Behavioral Health and Primary Healthcare in caring for our patients. It’s the result of significant efforts from the entire team, from frontline clinical associates to department leadership – a genuine team accomplishment.”

Swope Health will reinvest these award funds into additional quality initiatives.

Swope Health also was recognized recently as part of the University of Missouri School of Medicine’s Asthma program, which won the American Board of Medical Specialties “Outstanding Achievement in Quality Improvement Award.”

Another Virus Approaches – Time for Your Flu Shot

 

Starting Sept. 21, Swope Health will offer flu shots at all locations.

“We are very concerned about the upcoming flu season, combined with COVID-19,” said Dr. Jennifer Frost, interim Chief Medical Officer at Swope Health. “We encourage everyone six months or older to get a flu shot.”

The flu – by itself – is dangerous. In the 2018-2019 flu season, the flu was responsible for more than 34,200 deaths and more than 35 million illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Now, coupled with another potentially fatal virus, it is especially important to take precautions,” she said. Individuals who are 65 and older, those with illnesses like asthma or heart disease, and pregnant women are particularly encouraged to get vaccinated.

This year, with growing concern over the two viruses spreading together in the community – a so-called “Twindemic” – many workplaces will require employees to have a flu shot.

Here are some answers to key questions:

Keep your family strong. Vaccinate. Fight Flu.

Is it safe? YES!

The flu vaccine has been well studied and, yes, it is safe, Dr. Frost says. The CDC confirms that flu vaccines have been studied for more than 50 years and have a good safety record. The vaccine does not contain the actual flu virus itself, but a substance that “looks like” the flu. The injection prompts the body’s immune system to take action.

The risk in getting a flu shot is minimal – some people may get a little redness or pain at the site of the injection. It is possible the shot may produce a low-grade temperature or mild aches, but this goes away within a day or so. This reaction is actually the body confirming that its immune system is responding, Dr. Frost noted.

When is the best time? NOW!

Yes, now! Getting a shot early in the flu season gives you a better chance of protecting against catching the flu. The CDC encourages everyone to get a flu shot early – in September or October – before the flu season gets heavily underway. The CDC also notes that it’s helpful to get the flu shot even if you miss the early opportunity because the flu generally stays active and reaches a peak in February.

Are there any other precautions we can take? YES!

These will sound familiar: you can prevent the spread of the flu by frequent handwashing, maintaining physical distancing from others and wearing a mask. The practices that prevent the spread of COVID-19 are the same for influenza, because both are contagious viruses that use the respiratory system to infect others.

The CDC suggests staying away from close contact with people who are sick, and staying home if you get sick. The other rules are to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, wash your hands thoroughly and practice good cleaning of surfaces and items you touch. Remember to keep your hands away from your face and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Call Swope Health at 816-923-5800 to schedule your appointment for a flu shot now. It’s more important than ever.

COVID-19: Keep Safe, KC

Here’s a reminder for the Kansas City community about how you can take steps to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. To keep yourself safe:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (rub hands together until they feel dry) if you can’t wash with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Keep at least 6 feet away from other people if you need to go out.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home, such as doorknobs, light switches, phones, table tops, and toilets.
  • Wear a mask whenever around others

These guidelines aren’t really new, but they remain important to protecting yourself and others from COVID-19, which spreads mostly by person-to-person contact.

At Swope Health, anyone entering any of our facilities will be asked about their health: Do you have any cough, fever, new shortness of breath? Everyone at Swope Health is required to wear a face mask.

You’ll also find hand sanitizer stations throughout our facilities, and we encourage frequent use.

Our associates take these same precautions, and are required to use only approved entrances for arriving and exiting throughout the day.

Swope Health continues to offer COVID-19 testing at our Central and Wyandotte clinics for people who:

  • Are experiencing symptoms of the disease that started within the last 14 days: cough, shortness of breath, headache, tiredness, muscle aches, or new loss of taste or smell.

Testing is available at Swope Health Central and Swope Health Wyandotte, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday for individuals with symptoms by appointment. Call 816-923-5800 to be scheduled for drive-through or walk-up testing.

More information:

Exercise your rights: Vote

Swope Health encourages you to vote in the Aug. 4 election — it is the best way to use your power and your voice to create change.

One example is Issue 2: Many members of our community lack access to affordable, quality healthcare.  If approved, Amendment 2 will expand Medicaid to provide access to health care for 230,000 Missourians, including many in our own community.

Swope Health’s President and CEO Jeron Ravin JD is an advocate for healthcare for all, and has been speaking regularly about the Medicaid Expansion proposal, Issue 2, on Tuesday’s ballot in Missouri.

You can hear more from him at these events:

  • 1 pm Wednesday, July 29, on the Black Excellence KC panel discussion on Medicaid Expansion hosted by Kiana Sinks and Craig Moore II, with Jeron Ravin, Dr. Tracie McClendon-Cole, Deputy Director of the KCMO Health Department; and McClain Bryant Macklin, Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives at Health Forward Foundation. Cecilia Belsor-Patton of Healthcare for Missouri will moderate.

  • 4 pm Sunday, Aug. 2, on 107.3 FM‘s Be the Change Virtual Town Hall discussion on Facebook Live on Medicaid Expansion. The panel features Jeron Ravin, Qiana Thomason, President and CEO of the Health Forward Foundation and Dr. Vernon Howard, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and moderated by Darron Story of 107.3. Watch and participate on Facebook LIVE.

For more information on Issue 2 and the election, visit:

Keep Kids Safe During COVID-19 

Dr. Kenneth Thomas

Imagine what it’s like to be kid today: you’ve lost the routine of school, can’t see your friends or go play, can’t even hug your grandparents and suddenly see everyone wearing facemasks. It feels scary to adults and professionals, it certainly feels scary to kids.

Stress affects children differently than adults, and many children will not have the tools to express the feelings they are experiencing.  Start with helping them understand why we are all taking these precautions, said Dr. Kenneth Thomas, Director of Children’s Services, Swope Health.

“It is important that kids understand that these actions are designed to protect everyone,” Dr. Thomas said. “Help them understand that by following the rules – washing their hands, staying 6 feet apart and wearing a mask — they have a role in keeping everyone in the family safe.”

This is not to punish anyone, he added. “It is to keep us all safe. We each protect the other,” he said. “I protect you, you protect me.”

Also, Dr. Thomas added, giving your kids time to voice their fears, anxiety and frustrations is a good idea. Reassure them that life will return to normal eventually, although it might be a “new normal” and that’s OK.  “Point out what good has been discovered because of all this,” he added.

Here are some additional suggestions for helping your kids stay safe.

Keeping Kids Safe During The COVID-19 PandemicWash your hands.

We know that frequent hand washing is the best way to stop the spread of germs. When should you wash your hands? Wash after sneezing or coughing, after playtime, before handing food and after using the bathroom. Teaching your children these healthy habits now will lead to a heathier life in the future.

Maintain physical distancing.

While the stay-in-place orders are lifting and our communities are going back to business, it is still important to maintain physical distancing and avoid physical contact. The virus travels partially through the air in our saliva or mucus, which can spread through talking, singing and laughing, as well as coughing or sneezing. The closer we are, the more likely we are to spread the virus to the people we love. It is important to explain to out children that by keeping this distance we are saying “I love you” until we can hug our loved ones again.

Limit Screen time.

Studies already show that screen time does not help children’s brain development, but kids do love playing on smartphones and tablets. Find different ways that children can be creative. For example: Have family stretching time where you and the whole family take a moment to turn off the screen and tune into the movement of your body.

Lead by Example.

Children are always watching how we live our lives and often act out the same behaviors they see. It is important that you model the behavior you want your children to have.

Remember that you are the first line of defense when it comes to advocating for your health and the health of your child.

Swope Health Kids Care is ready for your children and their healthcare needs. Call us at 816-923-5800 to schedule an appointment.

More Resources:

For more information on how to help your child during the time of COVID-19:

Open Letter to the Community

Jeron RavinBy Jeron Ravin, President and CEO of Swope Health

I want to acknowledge the anxiety and stress many of you are enduring with the recent unrest in Kansas City. The events and subsequent demonstrations have surfaced a multitude of emotions: anger, despair, anxiety, and fear, but also commitment, courage and hope.

At Swope Health, our associates all share a working knowledge of systemic inequalities. We see them every day. The harsh reality is that inequities and injustices are not merely theoretical, but are real, life limiting, and often weaponized against communities already facing historical neglect, marginalization, and brutality.

The senseless death of George Floyd was the catalyst for the unrest you see today. But the pain and anger you see from many, including me, is that George Floyd recalls the memory of Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Travis Miller, Christian Cooper and far too many others to list.

To the mothers and fathers raising children of color, I imagine the burden of worry you wear hangs heavy. One of my favorite leaders, Martin Luther King Jr., once wrote “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I hope this is true. We long for the day when all our children have the same freedoms, without worry for their safety in a society that dehumanizes them, built on systematic injustice.

I believe this is a time to care for yourself and your families first and foremost. Recognize anxiety, stress, and pain, and take time to address it. It is appropriate to ask for help if you are struggling. It is also appropriate to lend your ideas. We will listen.

I also believe this is a time to use your voice. Standing against inequality – in healthcare, housing, education, the application of the law and practices of law enforcement – is not a political act, but a moral one.

Finally, remember that the very existence of Swope Health is an action to combat these injustices. Recall, our founding 50 years ago was in a time of similar civil unrest. Community leaders sought to attack the structural, social, and economic roots of poverty and racism. In 1969, then called the Model Cities Corporation, Swope Health was born.

This is still our mission. Yes, we are profoundly saddened that the same fight continues, but we won’t waiver in our commitment to it. We are called to make a difference in the lives of the least, lost, and the too often left behind. It is precisely times like these when they need us and our voice most. Feel empowered; we have more work to do.

In service to justice,
Jeron

Swope Health Logo

 

What you can expect in “reopening” at Swope Health

Swope Health: Reopening

Extra cleaning is underway every day at Swope Health.

As stay-at-home guidelines are relaxed and the community begins reopening, Swope Health is also planning a series of measured steps for the safety of our associates, patients and community.

Swope Health is coordinating reopening actions with the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and that of the various city and county agencies in our area. While we are excited to see you, our approach is to use an abundance of caution for the protection and safety of all.

Our reopening plan follows three general phases, each lasting two weeks, and assumes the community rate of infection remains steady or decreases. If COVID-19 cases increase or other rules are issued, these plans may change.

Under this plan:

  • Phase 1 started May 18
  • Phase 2 starts two weeks later, on June 1
  • Phase 3 starts two weeks later, on June 15

Some things won’t change. Swope Health is continuing with all current infection prevention precautions, including COVID-19 screening at entrances, separating sick and well patients, requiring physical distancing, providing facemasks, and encouraging frequent handwashing and sanitizing. We also continue to encourage patient telehealth visits where appropriate.

Throughout these next several weeks, we are also developing plans to improve the efficiency and breadth of our video telehealth services. We are also developing longer-term initiatives to redesign our lobby spaces for better physical distancing.

Here is a summary of current plans for Phase 1:

  • Swope Health: Reopening

    The Adult Medicine team at Swope Health Central is ready to welcome you!

    Swope Health Central: We will begin increasing Medical, Dental and Behavioral Health visits, including Radiology, starting Monday, May 18. All visits are staggered to allow for physical distancing and time for cleaning between patient encounters. After-Hours Clinic and Optical Shop remain closed.

  • In Behavioral Health, all group therapy and day program services are offered through telehealth only. Telehealth visits are encouraged for all services.
  • Swope Health Belton will reopen for Monday through Friday operations starting Monday, May 18. It will remain a “well” site with visits by appointment only.
  • Swope Health Independence will begin gradually increasing Medical patient visits starting May 18. Dental will remain on a rotational schedule in Phase 1: Closed the week of May 18 and open week of May 26. Dental will resume full time care in Phase 2 (June 1).
  • Swope Health Wyandotte remains open with the COVID-19 clinic on the first floor and well clinics separate on the 4th Both Medical and Dental services will begin gradually increasing face-to-face visits.
  • Swope Health will continue COVID-19 testing in the community, in support of Kansas City Missouri Health Department and Wyandotte County Unified Government Health Department initiatives. (See org homepage for the current list.)
  • Swope Health Northland, Hickman Mills, West, East and Maple Woods remain closed in Phase 1.

In Phase 2, starting June 1:

  • Swope Health Northland will reopen full time for Dental and Medical.
  • Optical Shop will reopen. One patient will be allowed at a time in the shop.

In Phase 3, starting June 15:

  • Swope Health West and Swope Health Hickman Mills will reopen.
  • Swope Health East and Swope Health Maple Woods will reopen pending plans by Tri-County Mental Health Services and Comprehensive Mental Health Services.

Remember, before coming to any Swope Health location please call 816-923-5800. We can answer your questions and schedule your appointment.

Swope Health Provides COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 Testing

Photo credit: CDC

We are happy to report that Swope Health is offering COVID-19 testing from our Central facility, 3801 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, Mo., and our Wyandotte clinic, 21 N. 12th St. in Kansas City, Kan. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

What you need to know:

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, we encourage you to call us at 816-923-5800. You will speak with a provider who can assess your situation and schedule you for a test.

If you are a Swope Health patient, we can schedule you at the Central drive-through clinic near Building C or at the Wyandotte COVID-19 office. Both are separated, as a precaution, from other areas of the clinics that are open for non-COVID-19 healthcare.

If you are not a Swope Health patient, you must complete registration before we can schedule an appointment. This must occur in person at this time, so we will ask you to come to either the Central or Wyandotte COVID-19 clinic to register. Please bring an ID, proof of address, health and health insurance records with you. While there is no charge for COVID-19 testing, you may be eligible for sliding fee payments for other healthcare services, so please bring proof of income as well.

You can learn more about registration and download forms in advance, if you like. Forms are available in English and Spanish.

Swope Health COVID-19 Testing in the Community

Swope Health is also conducting testing at locations in the community. If you are interested in having Swope Health professionals conduct testing at your church or non-profit location, please contact mmarroquin@swopehealth.org or akuhnlein@swopehealth.org.

View our homepage header for the most current information on community testing dates and locations.

The Testing Process

When you come for your test, we’ll talk with you about your symptoms and possible exposure. The first step in the test is collecting a sample. This involves placing a sterile swab, like a long Q-tip, at the back of your nasal passage for several seconds. It’s a bit uncomfortable but you can still breathe and talk.

After a sample is collected, the swab goes into a liquid-filled tube for transport to the testing lab. The collection itself takes several seconds. The entire encounter, including check in and completing paperwork, may take as long as 30 minutes. We typically receive results in about 48 hours and will contact you when we have the results.

Questions?

Contact Swope Health with questions about COVID-19 testing at 816-923-5800.

“Just awesome” – One Mom’s Review of Telehealth

Telehealth visits can take place from your smartphone, computer or tablet, as voice calls or video calls.

One Kansas City mom, who asked to remain anonymous, recently shared her joy at finding a safe, easy way to make sure her two kids, age 5 and 8, kept up with their well-child examinations:

“As parents, we are always so worried for our children. We want them to be healthy. It was about time for us to visit with their doctor, but I wasn’t sure what we were going to do, what with the pandemic. We were worried about coming in but I didn’t want to miss their time, either.

“You know, it’s hard. I’m an essential worker and I had to take time off to take care of the kids because we didn’t have daycare in place. But now I’m getting ready to go back to work and I needed find out what I could do.

“So I called in to see if there were any options. I was so happy to hear there was already something in place to take care of them.”

The solution for this mom was a telehealth visit, for both of her children. She continues:

“I was able to schedule on the same day. I had to cancel the appointment and reschedule, and even that was easy.

“We had a video call and it was so easy! I was able to see and talk with the doctor and she could see the kids. (They’re OK, thank God.)

“She was so very supportive and professional. I was just so happy.”

Telehealth Visit with Brianna Hoisington

Brianna Hoisington

Brianna Hoisington, Nurse Practitioner in Pediatrics, at Swope Health Central

This family’s visit was with Brianna Hoisington, Nurse Practitioner in Pediatrics, at Swope Health Central.

“Telehealth has been a blessing during these times of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.  “Everyone is feeling uneasy and scared, so being able to supply our patients with access to us from the safety and comfort in their own home has been wonderful for all involved. We are able to video with our patients, which gives them that feeling of connection and knowing we care.”

She continued: “I love having the opportunity to check in on my patients, provide them with any of their care needs and, honestly, give them that feeling of being seen, noticed, and heard during this time where things can feel lonely and isolating.

“Seeing our kiddos from pediatrics thriving even during this isolation, assuring their parents they are doing a great  job, and getting them any medications and care a child might require is available immediately through telehealth and is a light for all during this time,” Brianna said.

Swope Health has offered telehealth services for some time, especially in Behavioral Health services, but the COVID-19 emergency actually helped speed up the acceptance of telehealth, said Dr. Jennifer Frost, interim chief medical officer.

“This is an important way for patients and providers to stay in touch, while respecting stay-at-home rules and avoiding unnecessary contact to prevent the spread of the disease,” she said. She noted the phone and video calls will not work for all patients – some will still have to be seen in person. But for many well-person exams, follow-up appointments, medication questions or counseling visits, the telehealth service works well.

Telehealth

Schedule a convenient telehealth visit to talk with your provider from your home.
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash.

As the KC mom will happily testify:

“It’s so important that parents know you’re doing this. I have a friend ta work who’s also worried about her health, and I’m going to tell her how she can take care of her appointment this way. It’s just awesome what you are doing.

“You’re helping me take care of my family.”

 To schedule a telehealth appointment, call us at 816-923-5800.
Find more information at
SwopeHealth.org/telehealth.

Swope Health COVID-19 Related Updates

Swope Central Facility Map for COVID-19

  • All patients should call 816-923-5800 before coming to any location. 
  • Swope Health Central and Swope Health Wyandotte are available to see patients who have symptoms of COVID-19. We have physically separate areas at both clinics to avoid interactions with well patients.
  • Swope Health Belton and Independence are designated as “well” clinics. No patients with COVID-19 symptoms will be seen at these locations. Swope Health Belton is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays only, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Services at our Swope Health After-Hours Clinic, Maple Woods, North, East, West and Hickman Mills clinics are temporarily suspended. 
  • Coming soon: Curbside delivery of pharmacy orders at Swope Health Central.
  • Todos los pacientes deben llamar al 816-923-5800 antes de venir a cualquier local de Swope Health.
  • Swope Health Central y Swope Health Wyandotte están disponibles para atender a pacientes que tienen síntomas de COVID-19. Tenemos áreas físicamente separadas en ambas clínicas para evitar interacciones con pacientes sanos.
  • Las clínicas de Swope Health Belton y Swope Health Independence están designadas como clínicas de “salud”. No se verán pacientes con síntomas de COVID-19 en estos locales. Swope Health Belton está abierto solo los martes y jueves, de 8 a.m. a 5 p.m.
  • Los servicios en nuestra clínica de atención médica después de horas de Swope Health y las clínicas en Maple Woods, North, East, Hickman Mills y West se suspenden temporalmente.
  • Las pruebas de COVID-19 están disponibles en Swope Health Central y Wyandotte para pacientes que cumplen con criterios estrictos. 
  • Próximamente: Ofreceremos entrega a su vehiculo de pedidos de farmacia en Swope Health Central.