Quality Improvement at Union Health Center:
A Team-Based Approach

Union Health Center uses a team-based model of care to provide high quality health care. The primary care teams use data generated from the electronic medical record to improve the quality of care. We closely look at population health outcomes and develop plans to improve our patients’ health. These projects are just a few of the areas we have been working on, and quality improvement efforts are ongoing.

 

2016 Prevnar (pneumococcal) Vaccination Rates

Prevnar is a new vaccine to prevent pneumonia. To encourage patients to get this vaccine, UHC mailed letters to 839 patients due to receive the vaccine. Nine months after the letters were mailed,

    • 221 (26%) of these 839 patients received the vaccine

 

Here are UHC’s Prevnar vaccination rates before and after the outreach:

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2015 Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Screening

To increase the rate of screening for colorectal cancer, the primary care teams designed and implemented a mailing to patients due for screening with:

  • Reminder letters about choosing between colonoscopy and the fecal occult blood test and
  • Fecal occult blood test kits

 

With this mailing, UHC increased the rate of patients screened by almost 8%.

  • September 2014 CRC screening rate: 67.68%
  • September 2015 CRC screening rate: 75.04%

 

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2015 Diabetes Control

Health Coaches at UHC are trained to work with patients with chronic diseases to improve their health. Starting in September 2015, the Health Coaches called patients with poorly controlled diabetes (hemoglobin A1c levels above 9%), which led to fewer patients with poorly controlled diabetes.

  • August 2015 rate of patients with poorly controlled diabetes: 15.12%
  • December 2015 rate of patients with poorly controlled diabetes: 13.72%

 

Recognized for Excellence in Health Care

#UHC has been recognized by the NCQA as a Patient Centered Medical Home. UHC has also achieved NCQA recognition in 2 clinical programs, the Diabetes Recognition Program and the Heart/Stroke Recognition Program. These programs acknowledge clinicians for their delivery of quality ambulatory care to patients who have diabetes, cardiovascular disease or who have had a stroke.

 

#Out of hundreds of primary care practices nominated nationwide, UHC has been named an “exemplar practice” by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded LEAP (Learning from Effective Ambulatory Care Practices) Project.

 

Union Health Center has also received several grants from the New York State Health Foundation, United Hospital Fund, The September 11th Fund and the NYS Attorney General’s office to improve elderly diabetic care, implement comprehensive education curriculum for medical assistants, enroll union members and their families in state funded health programs and improve nutrition education for low wage immigrant workers.

The Hitachi Foundation funded the Center for the Health Professions at the University of California, San Franciso to research several health care clinics and practices in the US that significantly developed the role of medical assistants. Medical Assistants are the majority of non-licensed personnel working in outpatient practices and one of the fastest growing occupations in health care. Union Health Center, identified as one of these health centers, developed a new model that includes a training curriculum and a career ladder for medical assistants. Union Health Center’s model has not only expanded job responsibilities and improved wages and benefits for medical assistants, but has also contributed to improved patient outcomes and an enhanced patient experience.

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