Transforming Care - Mobile Health Teams
BACKGROUND and AIMS
The Community Care Collaborative (CCC) is increasing access to needed health care services through the development of its Mobile Health Teams (MHTs), one of 15 Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Projects it is launching as part of the 1115 Waiver. With this project, the CCC will provide basic primary care services to underserved areas and populations, through a mix of walk-in and scheduled appointments. In conjunction with other DSRIP projects that build critical infrastructure, expand access to care, and ensure that patients receive the right services in the right place at the right time, this project extends services to underserved areas and populations of Travis County.
Stopping at predetermined sites on a fixed schedule, the Mobile Health Teams offer Primary care services for adults of all ages, children and pregnant women, as well as chronic disease management' on-site basic blood tests and urinalysis, health risk screenings; and referral to behavioral health and social services.
Currently in Demonstration Year (DY) 3 of the Waiver's five-year program, the project goals are to deploy three mobile health teams and provide 4800 annual visits by DY5.
LAUNCH and DEPLOYMENT
Earlier this year, the CCC selected CommUnityCare to launch the Mobile Health Teams project, with Patricia Barrera acting as the project's Practice Administrator. Two vans have been purchased for the program and are parked overnight at CommUnityCare's Hancock Clinic, where supplies and materials are stored. From the Hancock Clinic, the teams travel to:
- Hornsby Bend Fire Station, located in Travis County east of 130, at 14308 Hunters Bend Road, 78725, Tuesdays through Fridays from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.;
- Volunteer Healthcare Clinic, located in Central Austin at 4215 Medical Parkway, from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Mondays;
- All Saints Episcopal Church at 209 West 27th Street from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays; and
- The Christo Rey Food Pantry at 2209 East 2nd Street on Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The Teams also visit health fairs to provide screenings, vaccinations and referrals to care for attendees. Additional information on the MHT's services, locations and hours can be obtained by calling 512-574-1003.
Other locations and partnerships for the MHTs are under development, including potential work with organizations such as the City of Austin's African American Quality of Life Program, the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, Child Inc., the County's Head Start Program provider; Meals on Wheels, and others.
The two teams have different compositions. Each has a Registered Nurse (RN), a Case Manager and a Medical Admitting Clerk (MAC). One team also travels with a Medical Doctor (MD) and a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D.) while the second team travels with a Physician's Assistant (PA) or Nurse Practitioner (NP) and a Dietician. In DY4, another PA/NP team will be added.
Barrerra notes that the most positive impact the MHTs have is in patient education and outreach. When patients are aware of how and where they can access MHTs, their access to care improves, they establish a relationship with community providers and, in turn, create a change in the way health care is delivered. The team's future goal is to provide sustained support and follow-up care in efforts to alleviate unnecessary utilization of the hospital's Emergency Department.
Patricia Barrera, MA, LPC,
has been a health care professional for the past 13 years working in a variety of areas from health insurance enrollment, to case management, to practice administration. She currently serves as CommUnityCare's Health Center Practice Administrator at the ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless) and for the DSRIP Mobile Health Teams. Patricia's specialty and interests lie in working with vulnerable and disenfranchised populations such as in the mental health arena and with homeless populations.
Patricia received a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Psychology from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, and a Masters of Arts degree in Counseling from St. Edwards University. Recently she became a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), by the State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. As a member of the Texas Homeless Network and the International Association of Trauma Professionals, she stays active in both the state and local community in her field of practice. As a bicultural and bilingual professional, she works with varied populations utilizing her experience in healthcare management, crisis intervention, substance abuse therapy, and case management.
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