You Can Reduce Holiday Anxiety – Here’s How

Carla Lee

Carla Lee, SHS Patient and Community Education Specialist, offers tips to take control and avoid stress and anxiety during the holiday season. Start with a plan, and focus on what’s important to you, she says.

Yes, it’s the holiday season.

It’s a time for giving and sharing, laughing and loving, and gatherings with family and friends.

For many people, it’s also a time filled with stress-inducing scenarios. Do you cringe at the thought of…

  • Dealing with crowds at malls and stores?
  • Finding the right gifts and being able to afford the right gifts?
  • Overeating and gaining weight?
  • Traveling, near or far, with so much traffic and bad weather?
  • Going to that Holiday party or event, or meeting with relatives – especially the ones you can’t stand?
  • Missing a loved one?
  • Managing all this along with the normally hard-to-balance workload and family life?

Carla Lee, SHS Patient and Community Education Specialist, has some tips to help anyone who answered “yes” to any of those situations.

“It all starts with a plan,” she said. “Plan, plan, plan.”

She added: “Make sure you set realistic goals. Set your own expectations and boundaries. It’s OK if you don’t get everything done. Just say ‘Oh well,’ and don’t beat yourself up.”

Carla also emphasizes the importance of self-care. “If you don’t have self-care,” says Carla, “You can’t take care of anyone else.”

Here are some of her other tips for dealing with other stressful scenarios.

PlanPlanPlanGift-giving: Establish a budget and stick to it. Use cash, and when you’ve run out, you’re done. Consider: Does everyone need a gift? She notes that when her favorite nephew had a baby, she opted to give a gift only to the baby – not to the adult nephew. She also suggests having a few small spare items on hand – holiday cards with a gift card to a coffee shop, restaurant or movie theater tucked inside – in case you need something quickly.

And when money is an issue, time is the best gift of all. Offer to help out with wrapping gifts, cooking, or just visit with a loved one.

Gaining weight: Focus on eating healthy throughout the day and drink lots of water. Get up and move around regularly. Maybe even start a series of little exercises you can do anywhere, such as the Neila Ray Office Workout.

If you are going shopping, park in the far lot and walk in. You’ll avoid some of the traffic and get some exercise on the way.

Travel: Plan ahead! Coordinate with others and pick the kind of travel that works for you. If you don’t like to drive, consider taking a plane, train or bus. If you have to drive, map out your schedule and pick times to avoid maximum traffic.

Or, think about using technology to be with a loved one without traveling. Use your smartphone, tablet or computer to have a Facetime or Skype session. You can even watch a movie together!

Balance: Remember, it’s OK to say “No.” You don’t have to agree to everything. It’s OK to skip a party or limit your commitments. It’s also OK to ask others for help. You can say “No” without guilt.

Missing a loved one on the holiday: For this special kind of grief, Carla suggests allowing yourself to remember while also starting a new tradition. It might be hanging a special ornament on the tree, lighting a candle, or gathering with others to reminisce with you.

Breathe. That’s right…just breathe. Deep, intentional breathing can help calm you down when the stress levels rise. A simple step is to use box breathing as a calming tool: inhale, pause, exhale, pause.

“The most important tip — the one that works in dealing with all of the holiday stressors — is self-care,” said Carla. “Make sure you laugh throughout the day. Stay in the moment, and be thankful for what you experience, whether that’s sitting near the tree and appreciating the evergreen aroma, playing with a pet, praying, stretching or just breathing.”

“You can’t pour from an empty cup,” she says. “Take care of yourself. Self-care is an act of self-love.”

If stress or anxiety are beyond what you can handle, please call to schedule an appointment with Behavioral Health at 816-923-1070.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Independence Clinic launches full-team initiative to tackle diabetes

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

The staff at Swope Health Services-Independence has launched an all-hands-on-deck initiative to identify diabetes in their patients, help manage the chronic disease, and most importantly, work to prevent it.

The program is the brainchild of Dr. Naiomi Jamal, who holds both a medical degree and Master’s degree in public health.

“I am always focused on prevention,” said Dr. Jamal, noting that the clinic serves a high number of patients with hypertension, obesity and diabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. Diabetes is the No. 7 cause of death, and the No. 1 cause of kidney disease, limb amputation and blindness, Dr. Jamal said.

In addition, one in three people have pre-diabetes, and 90 percent of them do not know they are at risk, she said.

“To a large part, diabetes is preventable,” she said. “We are working to create an environment to do that.”

The initiative at the Independence clinic begins with a specific diabetes checklist used with every patient to look for early signs of those three dominant diabetes-related issues: kidney disease, limb amputation and blindness. At least once a year, all patients are asked to complete lab tests to evaluate kidney function and receive a foot screening.

toolkit_badge_NovDiabetics are also predisposed to infections such as pneumonia and influenza. Their vaccination status for both these conditions is updated and monitored at every visit.

Starting in November, the clinic will add one more exam: an annual eye test to capture images of each patient’s retina. Those images are then examined by an optometrist for abnormalities linked to diabetes.

“In every visit, we try to make sure we are not missing anything,” said Dr. Jamal.

A second component of the initiative is counseling. In addition to medical treatment, patients are offered personal sessions with a chronic disease counselor and group visits with a trained and certified diabetes educator.

These small group sessions – 10 or fewer patients and their family members – are held every six to eight weeks at the Independence clinic. Topics include a detailed explanation of diabetes, insulin and medications, and steps to take to better control diabetes with diet and exercise.

Dr. Jamal has seen the group sessions produce results. She recalled one patient who had been under care for about a year but had difficulty controlling her diabetes.

The patient reported to Dr. Jamal that she was taking her medications, but in reality, she wasn’t. When she came to a group session, she encountered another woman from her neighborhood who talked about how she had been able to manage diabetes – using the same regimen the patient was prescribed.

“That peer interaction did something,” Dr. Jamal said. “My patient decided she, too, could be successful, and she started taking her medication.” That patient now has been able to control her diabetes.

The diabetes initiative has been operating for nearly a year in Independence, and as checklists are completed on more and more patients, the results are starting to show promise.

This includes higher rates of diabetic foot exams, vaccinations, renal disease screening, and overall diabetic control (compared to the same period last year, before the program was introduced).

NDPP-prevention

“This truly is a team effort,” Dr. Jamal noted. Starting with Patient Service Representatives who schedule and remind patients, to nurses and medical assistants who review patient histories in pre-visit sessions, to clinic staff who print out flyers and educational materials, counselors who educate and providers who diagnose and treat – all play important roles in reaching patients and encouraging the changes that drive results.

In 2019, this checklist approach – with lessons learned from Independence – will be rolled out across all SHS clinics.

“It is so very difficult to make healthy choices,” Dr. Jamal noted, “but we can make it easier.” For people who are diagnosed as pre-diabetic, lifestyle changes can frequently mean avoiding medication. “Prevention is possible,” she added.

There has never been a better time to come in for a checkup, at Independence or any of the Swope Health Services locations.  “We want to see you,” Dr. Jamal said. “We want to partner with you to help you achieve your health goals.”

In this month of diabetes awareness, it’s a good time to make an appointment for an examination. Call 816-923-5800 to schedule an appointment. SHS can help prevent diabetes in some cases, and if you have diabetes we can help with medication and education, including nutrition guidance, to lessen its impact on your life.

Teamwork: Learning with Lemons and Zucchini

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The recipe for Lemon Zucchini Bread

It was a steamy morning with thunderstorms looming, but the kitchen in the activity room at Swope Health Services was full of warmth and anticipation.

Today, instead of working in the SHS garden, a group of participants in the adult Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program (CPRP) were following the directions of Lenise James, Community Support Specialist.

On this day, the participants in the Power, Hope and Recovery Program (PHRP) would put their skills to use in trying out a recipe for Zucchini Lemon Bread.

The ingredients were laid out on the table, along with bowls and utensils like a lemon zester, a juicer, measuring spoons and cups, whisks, spoons and spatulas.

There was a flurry of activity as each of the five participants tried out a new tool for the first time – a Salad Shooter. Lenise demonstrated its use first, explaining how it works and how the resulting shredded zucchini will provide moisture in the cake.

Each one took a turn using the shooter, feeding a chunk of zucchini and watching it transform into shreds. Each one showed the next how to use it, adding tips to help. It was a simple thing, each helping the other, all learning together.

The lessons were practical and immediately put to use, but they also resonate as lessons everyone can use throughout the day – be kind, help each other.

“I love cooking, I absolutely love this,” said Brenda, one of the participants. “It’s so much fun.” Antwan suggested they make pesto next week, to use up the last of the basil planted out in their gardens. Others recalled a delicious cornbread from a previous cooking day.

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The Salad Shooter produces shredded zucchini.

Step by step, Lenise and the team put together the ingredients, first the wet ingredients, then the dry, then the two mixed together. Brenda adeptly juiced the lemons, while Rosie took control of the zesting duties.

“This is really good for taking out your frustrations,” Rosie said at one point, surveying the mound of lemon zest that had accumulated after she muscled through the lemon skin all the way to the fruit.

When she was advised to use a lighter touch, she replied, “I can’t help it if I’m strong.” But she tried again, and this time did it more slowly and gently.  The results were perfect.

As the aroma of the lemon zest wafted through the kitchen, Lenise demonstrated how to properly measure the dry ingredients using measuring cups and spoons.

Deborah carefully measured her dry ingredients — flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda – checking to make sure she added the right amount each time. Orlando did the same with his batch.

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Brenda has some fun working the Salad Shooter.

After Deborah’s batter was completely mixed and scooped into the loaf pan, she moved to start the dishwashing. “I like to do the dishes,” she said, “it’s better to clean up as you go.”

The program teaches practical skills, like measuring and following instructions in a recipe, but it also emphasizes life skills – listening, sharing, patience, kindness.  Working together, there is an accomplishment at the end of the session: a jar of pickles, a loaf of bread, a meal.

Once again this year, the adult CPRP program is offering participants “Eat Well on $4/Day, Good and Cheap,” by Leanne Brown, an acclaimed book that focuses on removing barriers from good nutrition. The book offers recipes and techniques to help make tasty food on a strict budget, aligned with the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The adult CPRP program, directed by Sonia Bolden-Oakley, supervisor, also runs the SHS gardening program, which produces cucumbers, pepper, potatoes, zucchini, herbs and more. This year, the garden added a peach tree, which Richard, a long-time participant, named Tummy. Why? “Because those peaches will be in everyone’s tummy,” he joked.

And as for the Lemon Zucchini Bread?

Delicious!

 

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Assembly of the wet ingredients.

 

 

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Measuring out the dry ingredients.

 

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Putting together the wet and dry ingredients to make a stiff batter.

 

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The finished batter, in loaf pans, ready for baking in the oven.

 

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Clean-up is part of every exercise. Here, Deborah takes on the dishwashing.

 

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Pickles, from an earlier cooking class.

 

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The Zucchini bread, fresh from the oven.

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A close-up of the moist, lemony zucchini bread.

Raising the Bar for Patient Safety: New Sterile Processing Department

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As part of their training, SHS associates visited the Sterile Processing Department at North Kansas City Hospital. Here they are in the Decontamination Room where full Personal Protective Equipment (called PPE) is required to minimize the risk of exposure to hazards. From left, Debbie Meads, Program Manager; Veronica Sosa, Medical Assistant; Chris Roseberry, Clinic Manager; Sherry Rider, Medical Assistant

Swope Health Services has launched a state-of-the-art sterile processing area at Central and Wyandotte locations.

The new Sterile Processing department is similar to centers housed in large hospitals.

The purpose is to assure patient safety in the decontamination of all reusable instruments used in medical and dental procedures.

“We’re raising the bar for community health centers,” said Debbie Meads, program manager, who directed the construction of the department.

The project involved changes to the Central clinic environment, water and air handling, as well as to the transportation and storage of instruments.

The project also included an education plan for all associates who work with reusable instruments and special training for about 10 associates in proper disinfection and sterilization of reusable instruments.

These associates now serve as sterilization processing technicians.

“Other than handwashing, sterilization is the next most important thing to consider in infection control,” said Kenneth Thomas, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and a practicing pediatrician.

“It is vital to make sure our instruments are sterile, and how we handle and clean contaminated equipment is just as important. It’s important to the safety of our patients, associates and families.”

Prior to the development of the Sterile Processing areas, equipment was sterilized in autoclaves or small steam chambers in various clinics.

The new department creates greater efficiency and assures consistent practice in the decontamination and sterilization of all materials, under the same standards, every day.

“Our program is important in delivering excellent patient care,” said Dr. Thomas. “It demonstrates our commitment to reducing and controlling infection.”

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A peek inside the new Sterile Processing Department on the second floor at SHS Central where, from left, Jaleeah Jones and Flora Wooster, Sterile Processing Technicians, are preparing reusable instruments for sterilization. This is a special room with its own heating, cooling and ventilation system. It is pressure-controlled, with special air exchange capability to completely exchange all the air in the room 10 times an hour, 24 hours a day. This secure room with these special capabilities assures that no contamination – pathogens or germs – can enter or escape from the processing units.

Mark Your Calendar: Treat Town, Oct. 31

The annual Swope Health Services Treat Town for safe Halloween trick or treating will be held 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31. The event is free and open to the public.

For this event, the 23rd annual Treat Town, SHS Central Building C is converted into a spooky Halloween extravaganza, with lots of places for kids to show off their costumes and collect toys and treats. Community organizations also participate, offering information along with their candy and treats for the tricksters age 12 and under.

There’s music and dancing, provided again this year by Battery Tour, featuring AY MusiK, the founder and leader of this popular Kansas City-based community-focused music festival band.

Last year, more than 1,500 children and their parents came to Treat Town. For many children, Treat Town was their first-ever trick-or-treat experience – warm, safe and fun with plenty of toys and treats. No tricks!

Please plan on joining us for Treat Town!

Treat Town

Participants at a recent Treat Town at SHS all filled their bags with candy, toys and treats!

Don’t Delay – Get Your Flu Shot Today

Did you know the best time to get a flu shot, providers say, is before the flu starts circulating?

That’s because it takes about two weeks from the time you get a shot for the vaccine to take effect in your body. You want to have the vaccine antibodies BEFORE the flu season kicks into high gear.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest people should be vaccinated by the end of October.

While it’s impossible to predict exactly when the flu will start appearing in Kansas City, flu activity across the U.S. typically peaks between December and February.

If you don’t make the October deadline, the CDC says, it’s still a good idea to get vaccinated, even into January.

Vaccinations are recommended for everyone ages six months and older. Pregnant women should also get flu shots to protect themselves and their babies.

At Swope Health Services, we are ready. When you come in for any kind of visit, your provider can give you a flu shot. Call for your appointment today: 816-923-5800.

“We encourage all our patients to get the flu shot to build a healthier community,” says Julie Richards, Director of Infection Prevention and Control, at Swope Health Services.  “Remember, you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you are sick or while you are sick.  Getting the flu shot protects all of us!”

Why is it important to get a flu shot? To prevent the disease from spreading, especially to the very young and very old and other people who are most vulnerable to flu complications.

For most people the flu is an inconvenience, but for some, the flu leads to hospitalization. Annually, an estimated 12,000 people die from complications of the flu – that’s the equivalent of about 23 747 jet planes full of passengers.

In addition to getting the seasonal flu vaccine, there are other basic steps you can take to stay healthy:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid being around people who are ill
  • If you become ill, don’t go to school or work or any place where you can spread the flu to others

What can you expect if you get the flu? Usually, flu symptoms, like a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat will come on quickly.

Most people have a fever of 100 degrees or more, aching muscles, chills and sweats, headache, dry cough, nasal congestion, and sore throat. They also may feel fatigued and weak. In short, having the flu is no fun.

Most people can recover from the flu on their own, although it can take a week or more for some people.

If you have risks of complications, don’t hesitate to see your provider, who can prescribe antiviral medications to help fight the infection.

More information about the flu:

Join us for National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 9-15, 2018

suicide warning signsSwope Health Services is joining in the campaign to raise awareness of suicide prevention, in alignment with National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 9-15, 2018.

“Our goal is awareness,” said Nicole James, Crisis Specialist at SHS. “We want to be accessible to everyone.”

SHS activities will extend though National Suicide Prevention Month and include:

  • Promoting awareness through T-shirts and outreach: The Crisis Team will set up tables in the SHS Central lobby on Fridays (Sept. 14, 21 and 28) for outreach with information, stress balls and cards. T-Shirts will be available for sale ($12 for short sleeve, $15 for long sleeve) with all funds supporting the Zero Suicide
  • Encouraging kindness: SHS is using “Care Cards” to provide an extra outreach and show support to anyone facing challenges. The postcards have simple messages, like “I Care About YOU.” SHS providers, case managers and associates are invited to use the cards with their patients and clients. Cards are developed by participants in the Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program and will be available through the crisis staff for anyone to use.
  • Advocating for primary care providers’ engagement in identifying behavioral health issues. As part of the Zero Suicide initiative at SHS, providers and clinical staff are encouraged to use a standard Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) to identify patients in need of support.

A majority of suicides – 83 percent – are completed by people who had seen a primary care provider within a year, Nicole said, citing data from Zero Suicide. The idea is that providers can help reduce suicides by recognizing depression and other warning signs and addressing those issues.

power of connectionThere is no single cause of suicide – it occurs when an individual becomes overwhelmed by stress and experiences feelings of hopelessness and despair. Each year, nearly 45,000 people complete suicide, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed. That’s why it is so important to be aware of depression and other mental health conditions, and to address them with treatment. Events like these at Swope Health aim to remove the stigma associated with suicide and depression, Nicole said.

“We can all benefit from a little kindness, and from honest conversations about mental health and wellness,” she said. “We can all benefit from connecting with each other. We all have a role in preventing suicides.”

If you are worried about someone, take action:

  • Call the Access Crisis Intervention Mental Health Crisis Hotline: 1-888-279-8188. These confidential calls are routed to Swope Health and provide direct local support.
  • Call the national Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
  • Send a text to 741 741. You can text the word “home” or ask a question.

“If you have any doubt or any question, just call. Or text. Or come in,” Nicole said. “You can ALWAYS walk in and ask to speak with a crisis specialist. We are here for you.”

More resources and information about Suicide Prevention:

Swope Health Services wins five federal Quality Improvement Awards

NCHWSwope Health Services was honored with five Quality Improvement Awards from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration last week.

The awards cap off the annual celebration of National Community Health Center Week, highlighting the critical role community health centers play in providing high-quality affordable healthcare.

SHS was recognized with Quality Improvement Awards for:

  • Achieving status as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH).
    This is a program focused on coordinated organization and delivery of primary care, emphasizing access to quality and safety in comprehensive care services.
  • pcmh-badgeEnhancing Access to Care.
    This award recognizes health centers that increased the total number of patients served and the number of patients receiving comprehensive services between 2016 and 2017.
  • access-enhancer-badgeAchieving Clinical Quality Improvement with an increase in Clinical Quality Measures.
    This recognizes health centers that achieved at least a 10 percent improvement in one or more Clinical Quality Measure between 2016 and 2017. These clinical measures assess the care given to patients and show how the organization performs, leading to improved care.
  • hit-badgeAchieving Clinical Quality Improvement through the use of electronic health records data.
    This award recognizes health centers that use electronic records to report and manage all clinical quality measures for all patients.
  • Advancing Health Information Technology for Quality.
    This award recognizes health centers that used IT systems to increase access to care and advance quality of care.

“Here at Swope Health, we are proud to be a perennial recipient of HRSA quality awards and recognition,” said Kenneth Thomas, M.D., SHS Chief Medical Officer.  “Last year, we worked especially hard to identify areas for improvement and this most recent award validates our efforts and teamwork.”

Dr. Thomas emphasized that the awards are the result of a team effort, across the entire organization, to focus on quality care.

“These awards should show our patients that we value quality and safety,” he said. “We are creating innovations to make their experiences better, safer and of the highest quality.”

Wael Mourad, M.D., Associate Chief Medical Officer, noted the awards show a focus on patient outcomes.

“We look forward to building on this success to propel Swope Health as a quality leader amongst Community Health Centers in not just Missouri, but in the entire Midwest region,” he said.

Swope Health was one of 29 award-winners in the state of Missouri, according to the HRSA Awards report. Along with the recognition, SHS received $137,000 in award funds, which will be used to further develop quality programs, said Dave Barber, President and CEO of Swope Health.

“We are honored to receive these awards,” he said. “This demonstrates that our commitment to quality to every patient is making a difference.”

Join Us in Celebrating Community Health Centers

August 12-18 is National Health Center Week in the United States, designated and promoted by the National Association of Community Health Centers.

At Swope Health Services, we start the celebration early and keep it going all week!

  • Join us for our annual Burgers & Brainteasers Trivia Burgers and BrainteasersNight, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Friday, August 10 at the Westport Flea Market Bar and Grill. Doors open at 6 p.m. at the event, 817 Westport Road in Kansas City. Your $25 ticket includes all-you-can-eat burgers, plus drink specials and trivia. Order your tickets in advance.  Proceeds from the event support the SHS Patients in Need Fund, supplying medicine, eyeglasses and other items to patients who otherwise would do without.
  • During the week, August 13-17, we pause and thank the “Healthcare Heroes” in our midst. With help from our sponsors, we offer healthy snack bags to our clients and treats to our associates, too. Our associates have the opportunity to recognize colleagues who deliver exceptional service as “Healthcare Heroes” in any capacity. Winners will be treated to the August 17 T-Bones game.
  • We host a Community Luncheon 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, August 17, at the Kauffman Foundation, 4801 Rockhill Road. This year’s topic is “Coordination and Collaboration in the Face of Risk: Responding to Missouri’s Opioid Crisis.” Four panelists will discuss their organization’s role in addressing the opioid crisis while offering leadership lessons for responding to challenges that require coordination across multiple agencies. Attendees will learn strategies and tips for breaking down silos and working more effectively in cross-functional or interagency teams. Panelists are:
    • Dr. Rex Archer, Director of Health for the City of Kansas City, Missouri.
    • Andrea Buford, Director of Clinical Operations for Swope Health Services Behavioral Health Department.
    • Vince Ortega is the executive director of COMBAT, the Jackson County organization funded by the Community Backed Anti-Crime Tax that focuses on addressing substance abuse and drug-related crime.
    • Dr. Rachel Winograd is a Research Assistant Professor at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health (MIMH) – University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL).
Americas Health Centers

Click this image for a detailed infographic on Community Health Centers.

Purchase tickets online by August 10, 2018. Tickets will NOT be available at the venue.

Behind this national celebration is a long record of success in the delivery of high quality, cost-effective, and accessible care.

We are proud to recognize our community-based model of care and creating public awareness of the many services we offer, especially to medically underserved segments of the community.

Nationally, health centers provide care to more than 27 million underserved patients, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers. This includes:

  • More than 330,000 veterans
  • Nearly 1.3 million homeless patients
  • More than 955,000 migrant farmworkers, and
  • About 8 million children

A large majority – 83 percent of patients – are uninsured or insured by Medicare or Medicaid. More than 90 percent of patients nationally served by Community Health Centers are low income.

Nationally, Community Health Centers play a vital role in creating cost savings and promoting economic growth. Community Health Centers are responsible for generating $45 billion in economic activity, and saving $24 billion to the entire health care system.

That’s because Community Health Centers have 24 percent lower spending than other primary care providers for Medicaid patients.

All reasons worth a celebration. We hope you’ll join us.

Get Ready for Summerfest – Saturday, Aug. 4!

summerfest logoIt’s almost Back-to-School season, and we want to help you get ready.

Plan on joining us at the Kansas City Public Schools’ annual Summerfest, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4 at Summerfest Park at the Board of Education, 2901 Troost Ave., and extending along Troost between 28th and 30th Streets.

Summerfest is an opportunity for school children of all ages to celebrate and prepare for the new school year.

This event has live entertainment, athletic competitions, educational games and free food. The event is presented by the Kansas City Public Schools Education Foundation, with support from sponsors.

Summerfest is open to the community and will include a variety of community resources and children’s activities like a book nook, bouncy house, arts and crafts and face painting. The athletic and gaming zone features wall climbing, kickball and basketball – including a 3-on-3 tournament.

kcpsef logoStudents in Kansas City Public Schools will also be able to meet teachers and principals, and enroll for the coming year at the event.

In preparation for school, students will have the opportunity to receive a free T-shirt, backpack, school supplies and more. Register in advance to reserve a backpack for your student.

The event offers free shuttle transportation with pick-ups starting at 9 a.m. and continuing every half hour from Northeast High School, Manual Career and Technical Center, East High School, Central High School and Southeast High School. Returns start at 1 p.m.

Swope Health Services will be at the event, too. A pediatric provider will be on hand to talk with parents and share information about our services. We’ll be scheduling appointments for well-child visits, immunizations and annual physicals for kids participating in school sporting activities.

The SHS Mobile Medical Unit will be on site, too, offering free hearing and vision screenings, and helping you make follow-up appointments.

We look forward to seeing you there!