The fourth Annual Leadership Conference of the Kentucky Health Center Network was held recently at Keeneland in Lexington. As our member organizations strive to be leaders in providing the highest quality of care and being an employer of choice, the conference theme was Setting the Pace. Speakers from around the country presented information on timely topics, including:
- Becoming a Destination Workplace
- Customer Service
- Cyber Security
- Demystifying the PDSA
- Engaging Staff in Quality Improvement
- Federal Policy and Legislative Update
- Human Resources Issues and Updates
- Information Technology (NIST Cybersecurity Framework, Call Center Strategies, Security of Medical Devices)
- Patient Engagement Through Care Planning
- Unifying Front and Back Office Around Goals
Conference management support was provided by Lisa Garza and Marcus Pigman from the Kentucky Office of Rural Health.
Door prizes were provided by exhibiting vendors at the event, including the American Heart Association, BKD, Health Initiatives Consulting, Kentucky Telehealth Consortium, and LabCorp. Prize winners were Martha Ellis and Jennifer McPeek from Big Sandy Health Care, Jacey Matthews from Cumberland Family Medical Centers, Dr. Kelly Evans from Grace Health, Jack Miniard from Clover Fork Clinic, and Brooke Johnson from Juniper Health.
Additionally, an awards presentation was held, and 2019 Award winners were:
The Outstanding Leader Award was presented to Shelley R. Gobin, RN, BS, CEO of Health First Community Health Center
Shelley has worked at Health First Community Health Center since 2012. She joined the organization as the Director of Nursing and Quality Director, moving up to Chief Operating Officer, and became CEO in 2018. She has seen growth, changes and experienced many challenges during that time and has persevered. In terms of growth, Health First Community Health Center now has a wide range of services to include primary care, behavioral health, optometry, dermatology, weight loss management, alcohol and drug counseling, and nutrition counseling; and they have grown to seven sites. She has worked with two of the organization’s three previous CEOs. Since becoming CEO, Shelley has dealt with a change in revenue cycle management companies and a whole new set of Board members. She has conquered a lot of adversity during her Community Health Center tenure, and has brought the organization much success with grace and patience.
The Outstanding Organization Award was presented to Triad Health Systems
Triad Health Systems opened in 2008, just over 10 years ago, and has grown to 15 sites in very rural areas of three counties in northern Kentucky. Services have grown to include dental, behavioral health, and optometry. In addition, Triad offers behavioral health and primary care services at school-based health center sites in all their service area counties – Carroll, Gallatin, and Owen. Moreover, Triad has stepped in to save health care in small communities when other health care entities leave those residents without local health care options. When Triad opened for business, there were two hospitals in the counties it serves. There remains just one Critical Access Hospital. To address health care needs, Triad has established important partnerships to expand services to the residents of the rural counties. Those partnerships include working with the local health departments, local school boards, and metro-area hospitals to provide services locally, including specialty services including Obstetrics and gynecology, nephrology, general and thoracic surgery follow-ups, podiatry, cardiology, and spine care. Triad has also partnered to provide residents with mammograms and stroke and cardiovascular screenings in their home communities. Additionally, Triad responds to local epidemics, as they provided Hepatitis A vaccinations to all on their sliding fee scale during a recent outbreak. Triad also shows it cares about the citizens of the communities they serve through offering free sports physicals in late summer, sponsoring suicide intervention skills training, and their participation in local Chambers of Commerce, Health and Safety and Drug Abuse Prevention Coalitions, and festivals, like the Gallatin County Peony Festival. Being responsive to the needs of the residents it serves makes Triad Health Systems our 2019 Outstanding Organization.
The Provider Excellence Award was presented to Derrick J. Hamilton, DO, CMO at Juniper Health
Dr. Hamilton serves as the CMO and Assistant CEO at Juniper Health. He is the immediate past Chief of Staff and Acting Director of Cardiopulmonary and the ICU at Kentucky River Medical Center. He serves as the Chairperson of the Breathitt County Board of Health, and currently serves as an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. Other leadership positions include membership on the Board of Directors for Breathitt County Home Health and past positions as a volunteer physician for local shelters and free clinics, as well as being a voluntary team physician and coach for local baseball and basketball teams.
In addition to being well-liked by his patients and much-respected by colleagues and coworkers at Juniper Health, Dr. Hamilton always strives to improve his skills and abilities. He attends national trainings on many topics including managing change and compliance. One of the prestigious trainings Dr. Hamilton completed was the Harvard School of Public Health’s Managing Ambulatory Care program. He has used those skills and abilities wisely at Juniper Health to develop a model of Quality Assurance and Improvement reporting and monitoring based on reliable data dashboards, so that Juniper provides highly reliable, high quality health care to improve the lives of the patients it serves. An example of this is Juniper’s recent designation as a CDC Million Hearts Hypertension Control Champion, and they are the only organization from Kentucky to ever receive this prestigious award. Dr. Hamilton also supported the development of Juniper’s RN-based program for Medicare Annual Wellness Visits, which makes preventive health care more accessible and effective for Medicare patients.
Additionally, Dr. Hamilton works to help his colleagues achieve successes at their own organizations through his leadership with the KHCN Peer Learning Team. At their 2nd meeting, Dr. Hamilton provided training about the role of a Chief Medical Officer or Medical Director, quality improvement, and managing change. I’m sure Juniper Health and the KHCN CMO Peer Learning Team will continue to thrive with Dr. Hamilton’s involvement, and we are very thankful to him for his contributions!
The Health Center Quality Award was presented to Park DuValle Community Health Center
Park DuValle Community Health Center is receiving this award because of its outstanding performance on 2017 UDS Quality of Care measures. Park DuValle performed better than the national average, Kentucky average, and Healthy People 2020 goals when there was one for the measure, for 10 of 15 UDS Quality of Care measures. They also received 2018 Health Center Quality Improvement Awards for:
- reporting electronically on the full universe of patients
- making at least 10% improvement in measures from 2016 to 2017
- using health information technology systems to increase access to care and advance the quality of care provided, and
- being recognized as a patient-centered medical home
- achieving the best overall clinical performance among all health centers and placed in the top 30% of clinical quality measures
The Health Care Hero Award was presented to A. Stevens Wrightson, MD, Executive Director, Bluegrass Community Health Center
Dr. Wrightson joined Bluegrass Community Health Center in 2010 as the Medical Director and became CEO in 2016. While Bluegrass Community Health Center is fairly small with two locations, they are mighty and serve extremely underserved populations – including refugees that speak many different languages, patients who are drug addicted and want help, people experiencing homelessness, and farmworkers.
Dr. Wrightson became interested in Hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment a few years ago, as Bluegrass Community Health Center was beginning its MAT program with Long Acting Naltrexone or Vivitrol. As the opioid epidemic was exploding, it was clear there were too many patients with hepatitis C that needed treatment, but did not have access to a specialist. In 2015, Dr. Wrightson invited Dr. Takako Shanninger from the Infectious Disease division at the University of Kentucky to speak to the Bluegrass Community Health Center providers about Hepatitis C and its treatment. Later that year, he attended a Hepatitis C lecture given as part of a national PCMH conference in San Francisco, even though, at that time, he was not able to treat those patients in Kentucky due to payer rules. He understood that the opportunity to cure a chronic disease in a primary care setting was incredible, and wanted to be a part of ending the suffering caused by Hepatitis C and began tracking Hepatitis C in patients enrolled in the Bluegrass MAT program. Dr. Wrightson led Bluegrass Community Health Center to participate in a CDC Hepatitis C data project in 2017, along with five other KHCN member organizations. Due to Dr. Wrightson’s leadership and understanding of the importance of Hepatitis C screening, diagnosis, treatment, and cure, Bluegrass was one of only two participating organizations in Kentucky that were able to track patients along the Hepatitis C cascade of care – from the point of diagnosis through suppressed viral response, or cure. Now he and other clinicians at Bluegrass Community Health Center are among the very first Kentucky primary care physicians, APRNs and PAs to treat Hepatitis C in their own clinic locations through the KHAMP program. He also willing to share the journey with other Kentucky health centers, so that we can all work toward diagnosing and curing this debilitating and deadly disease in our clinic locations across the state, which are easily accessible to patients. This is what makes Dr. Wrightson our Health Care Hero.