Spotlight on First FQHC Retail Clinic – MHS Convenient Care Clinic
The second week of August annually gives attention to community health centers to celebrate their efforts to provide primary and preventive medical care in underserved communities.
The work of health centers are vital to the overall health of communities as they provide access to affordable, quality and cost-efficient services to individuals who otherwise may go without, use emergency rooms for care or experience health crisis due to lack of primary care. These services are provided to individuals regardless of their ability to pay.
The theme for the 2010 observance of National Health Centers Observance is, “Turning the Vision into Reality.
” This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Health Centers Program, celebrating the progress that has been made towards fulfilling the goal of the National Association of Community Health Centers’ “Access for All America” plan to provide a health care home to 30 million patients by 2015.
America’s Health Centers now serve over 20 million people (including 925,000 farm workers and nearly 940,000 people who are homeless) in 7,000 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.
On a statewide basis as of 2008, Wisconsin had 16 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), with 81 delivery sites, 196,227 patients served; including 13,325 homeless and 1,232 migrant/seasonal farm workers.
On a local level, Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. (MHSI) is one of four federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). MHSI provides medical services to approximately 32,000 vulnerable and underserved patients each year.
In 2009, MHSI gained distinction amongst the national FQHCs by being the first to open a retail based health clinic. At which time, MHSI began a partnership with Centene Corporation, the parent company of Managed Health Services – a major HMO provider, to open the MHS Convenient Care Clinic (CCC) inside the Midtown Piggly Wiggly grocery store.
The Midtown Piggly Wiggly, formerly known as Lena’s Food Market is still owned and operated by the Martin family, which allowed MHSI the opportunity to partner with a black-owned grocery store in a geographical area that has a high concentration of Medicaid, Underserved and Uninsured individuals.
Typically, retail clinics have not allowed for easy access by those needing the services the most because they are not usually located in their communities.
The MHS CCC clinic is owned and operated by MHSI. As is true with MHSI’s two main clinics, this site offers affordable and quality health care. Various acute care services, vaccines and screenings are provided. The scope of services provided by the MHS CCC are very similar to those provided at retail care clinics operated by pharmacies and hospitals.
Retail clinics offer conveniences to the public because medical services can be accessed on a walk-in basis without an appointment; there is generally no or short waiting periods. Payments for services are covered by insurances, cash payments and sliding fee scale for the uninsured. The utilization of retail health centers benefits the larger health community because it also helps to decrease the flow of costly visits to hospital emergency rooms.
Services at the MHS CCC are provided by a Nurse Practitioner (NP) or Physician Assistant (PA) who is supported by Medical Assistants. The NP and PA are trained board certified clinicians who can provide acute care and write prescriptions, the prescriptions do not include pain management medication at the MHS CCC. The clinic is not to be a replacement for a person’s primary physician, but instead should be utilized as a resource when one needs acute care services for routine care and they are unable to access their physician. Individuals are encouraged to seek care from their primary care physician for chronic disease management and follow-up care.
Unlike many retail based care clinics, MHSI is able to link the MHS CCC patients to primary providers within the organization’s main clinics if they do not already have a medical home. On a national basis, retail clinics are opening at a rapid pace. The MHS CCC is located near the dairy section in a space that was constructed to meet the needs of potential patients. All of the equipment is new and the clinical rooms are set up to mimic a patient room at a doctor’s office. Services are provided to children 18 months and older as well as adults.
Services available at the MHS CCC include:
Asthma & bronchitis * seasonal allergies / sinus infections * flu /common cold symptoms / cold sores * migraine headaches * heartburn / reflux * bladder infections * ear infections * diarrhea * viruses / nausea / vomiting * pink eye / stye infection and other eye related infections * insect bites and poison ivy * acne / eczema / ring worm * other skin rashes and warts * school & sports physicals
The MHS Convenient Care Clinic’s hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 7:30 pm and Saturday from 8:00 am – 12:30 pm. The phone number is 414-447-1750. MHSI’s main clinics are the MLK Heritage Health Center at 2555 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and the Isaac Coggs Heritage Health Center at 8200 W. Silver Spring Drive.