Eleven years and counting…

By Shanon Hardie

What took the tireless efforts by a dedicated group of Point Roberts residents and leaders to plan and launch has turned into an 11-year partnership between the community, the Point Roberts Hospital District and Unity Care NW (formerly known as Interfaith Community Health Center).

Staffed originally by Virginia Lester, ARNP, and a dedicated team of staff, she passed the torch upon her retirement in February 2013. Virginia was the backbone of the clinic for all of those years and ensured this fledgling start-up gained stability and offered exceptional care.

Natalié Davidson, ARNP, took over as the provider and leader of the clinic in May 2013. She has focused on building a strong primary care/family practice clinic with accountability and transparency for results and outcomes.

As more and more insurance payers and funders are requiring accountability for results as a condition of reimbursement for services, these efforts are critical, besides just being the right thing to do for patients and care.

Some of the key improvements Natalié and her team have made over the past few years include:

• Increasing cervical cancer screening rates from 39 to 52 percent

• Increasing colorectal cancer screening rates from 16 to 37 percent

• Improving blood sugar testing for diabetics from 66 to 74 percent

• Improving kidney disease testing for diabetics from 59 to 74 percent

• Increasing TDaP vaccination rates from 19 to 53 percent

• Increasing flu vaccination rates from 29 to 33 percent

• Increasing pneumonia vaccination rates from 17 to 48 percent

• 100 percent of clients surveyed in 2016 were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of care they received at their last visit.

• 100 percent of clients surveyed in 2016 were satisfied or very satisfied with their ability to get an appointment when they wanted to be seen.

There is still work to be done, but the clinic is certainly making some nice progress on these measures. The Point Roberts Clinic provided comprehensive primary and urgent care services to 547 patients with 1,110 visits in 2016.

Though the intention and contract between the hospital district and Unity Care NW is focused on the provision of primary care medical services, there have been community requests for behavioral health and adult dental services. In response, Unity Care NW began planning the expansion of behavioral health services and recently implemented them at the clinic.

Behavioral health services are hard to financially sustain but if the demand is there, we are committed to doing our best to maintain a program. Janet Clingaman, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, is scheduled to be at the clinic every other Monday. She is working closely and collaboratively with the Point Roberts Clinic medical team to co-manage patients with behavioral health needs.

Though the Point Roberts community cannot financially sustain a standalone dental clinic, Unity Care NW has brought in a dental treatment bus staffed by a team of dentists and dental assistants annually for the past two years to provide exams and urgent treatment. There are discussions about increasing that to twice per year if funding allows.

We look forward to our continued relationship and partnership with the Point Roberts Hospital District, focusing on providing high quality and affordable healthcare and exploring opportunities to better meet the unique needs of the Point Roberts community. It has been and continues to be a pleasure serving you.

Here is to another 11 years of partnership and collaboration!

(Hardie is COO of Unity Care NW)

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