Charles Drew Health Center Hires New Members to Executive Leadership Team

Kenny McMorris, President and Chief Executive Officer at Charles Drew Health Center (CDHC) is pleased to announce the addition of three new members to the Health Center’s Executive Leadership Team – Tarsha Jackson, BS, CPA, Chief Finance Officer; Angeline Larson, MBA, Chief Operations Officer; and Miku Sodhi, MD, MHA, Chief Quality Officer.

Tarsha Jackson, BS, CPA, Chief Financial Officer leads the financial affairs of the Center in partnership with the Executive Leadership Team and the CDHC Board of Directors. Tarsha has 15 years of experience in executive leadership for nonprofits in finance, accounting, human resources and operational needs. Tarsha has a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration Accounting Degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She began her career in public accounting and holds an inactive CPA license. She is pursuing her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She is also a graduate of the Non-Profit Association of the Midlands Leadership Institute and the United Way of the Midlands Heartland Blueprint Program.

Angeline Larson, MBA, is the new Chief Operating Officer at Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. She brings over ten years of healthcare experience with her including work in grants management, information systems, research, public health, development, public relations, and operations management. Angeline has a Masters of Business Administration from Creighton University and Bachelors of Science from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is also a graduate of UNMC’s Great Plains Public Health Leadership Institute. Angeline is an active member of the Suburban Omaha Rotary Club and on the selection committee of Youth Leadership Omaha.

Miku Sodhi, MD, MHA, Chief Quality Officer, comes to Charles Drew Health Center with a rich background in health care management, leadership, quality improvement, public health, organizational transformation, and clinical medicine. He holds a Masters in Health Care Administration from California State University East-Bay; A Fellowship in Health Policy & Leadership from The George Washington University, at the Milken Institute School of Public Health; Advanced Clinical Management from the Stanford University, and a degree in Medicine from the University of Mauritius. As a foreign trained physician, Miku has practiced clinical medicine as a Family Practitioner. He has also been involved in teaching pursuits, and has taught health care management courses to graduate level students as an adjunct faculty at the Department of Health Sciences, California State University East-Bay. He is multi-lingual, and is a member of the American College of Health Care Executives (Nebraska Chapter), and California Association of Health Care Leaders.

“Leadership is critical when engaging and transforming a community. It is important that Charles Drew Health Center reflect these principals in our employees and how we relate to our patients. With the new additions to our team, we believe we are taking the right steps in continuing to providing the best quality, patient-centered medical care this community deserves, while actively engaging partners to reduce health disparities and improve the health and well-being of all families in Metropolitan Omaha”, said McMorris.

 

Congress Passes Legislation to Improve Veterans’ Health Care Access

After months of deliberation, Congress passed legislation to provide $17 billion in emergency spending to improve access to care for veterans who either cannot get a timely appointment or live more than 40 miles from a VA facility. Under this legislation, veterans who meet these qualifications can choose to seek care from any provider participating in Medicare, an FQHC, the Department of Defense, or the Indian Health Service, with a guarantee from the VA that those services would be reimbursed at Medicare rates, up to $10 billion in total. Support for the final legislation was nearly unanimous, passing by a vote of 91-3 in the Senate and 420-5 in the House. The President is expected to sign the bill sometime this week. A summary of the legislation is available here.

OneWorld Opens WIC Clinic in Northwest Omaha

OneWorld Community Health Centers, Inc. announced the opening of a new WIC (Women’s Infants and Children) clinic at OneWorld’s Northwest Omaha clinic, 4229 North 90th Street. The WIC clinic will offer services on the first and third Wednesday of each month during clinic hours, 8am to 4pm.

The motto of the WIC program is “Strong parents, healthy kids” and provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support and prescriptive food supplementation to pregnant, breastfeeding and post-partum women and children 0-5 years old.

OneWorld operates three WIC clinics in the metro area and services over 5,000 families monthly. Andrea Skolkin, OneWorld CEO, said, “OneWorld is focused on meeting the needs of people all over Omaha. Offering WIC services in the northwest part of town will save the families who live there traveling time while making sure their young children are getting the healthy food they need.”

OneWorld Recognized by City of Omaha and Nebraska Department of Economic Development

OneWorld Community Health Centers was recognized recently by Governor Dave Heineman and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and Mayor Jean Stothert and the City of Omaha for development and renovation of the historic Livestock Exchange Campus, home to OneWorld’s main health clinic. As a federally qualified health center, headquartered in South Omaha, OneWorld provides medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, and support services with a special emphasis on caring for the underserved. More than 27,000 people received care at OneWorld in 2013.

Governor Dave Heineman proclaimed April 21-26 as Community Development Week and noted about OneWorld’s project, “Community Development Block Grant projects have served to foster growth and prosperity in Nebraska communities across the state by providing opportunities to gain access to resources that will enable every community throughout the state to thrive.”

OneWorld CEO Andrea Skolkin said of the recognition, “We are proud to be an integral part of south Omaha and to call the beautiful and historic Livestock Exchange Campus our home. To be recognized for our investment in the community is humbling. This award motivates us in our mission to bring quality and innovative health care to the city.”

OneWorld completed the construction in early 2013, transforming the Livestock Exchange Building into a Primary Care and Affordable Housing campus in South Omaha. Expanding around this historic landmark allowed OneWorld to continue a 43 year commitment to the health and economic vitality of the community and strengthened the tradition of supporting the health of the area’s workforce.

HHS announces Affordable Care Act mental health services funding

$50 million from the health care law will expand mental health and substance use disorder services in approximately 200 Community Health Centers nationwide

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced that it plans to issue a $50 million funding opportunity announcement to help Community Health Centers establish or expand behavioral health services for people living with mental illness, and drug and alcohol problems.  Community Health Centers will be able to use these new funds, made available through the Affordable Care Act, for efforts such as hiring new mental health and substance use disorder professionals, adding mental health and substance use disorder services, and employing team-based models of care.

It is estimated these awards will support behavioral health expansion in approximately 200 existing health centers nationwide.

Over the past year the Obama administration has taken a number of steps to reduce the barriers that too often prevent people from getting the help they need for behavioral health problems.

The Affordable Care Act expands mental health and substance use disorder benefits and parity protections for approximately 60 million Americans.

The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget includes a new $130 million initiative to help teachers recognize signs of mental illness in students and refer them to services, support innovative state-based programs to improve mental health outcomes for young people ages, and train 5,000 more mental health professionals.  For more information please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/factsheet/improving-mental-health-prevention-and-treatment-services.

The Administration has also finalized rules under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. Because of these parity protections, many insurance plans will now include coverage for mental health and substance use conditions that is comparable to their medical and surgical coverage.

The Administration also launched www.mentalhealth.gov a new website featuring easy-to-understand information about basic signs of mental health problems, how to talk about mental health, and how to find help.

OneWorld Receives Gratitude Award from Baird Holm LLP

Baird Holm LLP has presented its third annual Gratitude Award to OneWorld Community Health Centers.  Each year, the Firm recognizes two local organizations at their annual Thanksgiving luncheon.

Baird Holm created the Gratitude Award to recognize organizations in the community that positively impact the people of Omaha and the surrounding areas.  The two winning organizations were invited to attend a Thanksgiving luncheon to receive their award and educate Baird Holm employees about their mission.

Organizations Launch Kresge-Funded Project to Assess and Address Patient Risk

The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), the Oregon Primary Care Association (OPCA), and the Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF) have launched a Kresge Foundation-funded project to measure and capture health centers’ patient risks in terms of both clinical and non-clinical factors, such as the social determinants of health–the social, environmental, and economic factors that influence an individual’s health.

An $800,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation will support the three-year project to create, implement, and promote a standardized health risk assessment protocol that goes beyond medical acuity to account for the social determinants of health.

This project comes at a critical time, as payments become increasingly based on measures of health quality rather than the volume of services provided.  However, current quality measures do not account for the fact that much of the differences in health are related to the social determinants of health – poverty, jobs, education, housing, availability of healthy food, neighborhood safety, geographic isolation, and social exclusion.

As a result, quality measures and payment systems do not reflect the extra time and resources needed to help these patients become and stay healthy, putting health centers at a significant disadvantage.  Collecting data on patient risk, especially the social determinants of health that health center patients often confront in their environment and living situations, will be crucial to level the playing field for health centers when payment is based on performance rather than volume.

The protocol developed from this project will be critical to helping health centers better understand and manage their patient populations with needed services and community partnerships, identify which factors are driving higher health care costs and poorer health outcomes, and create more appropriate risk adjustments when operating under value- or performance-based payment systems.

In the first year, the partners will review and assess the nature and use of existing patient risk assessment tools and protocols to inform the development a national standardized health risk assessment protocol.  If your health center or health organization currently uses a patient risk assessment tool and you would be willing to share it with us, please contact Michelle Jester at mjester@nachc.org or 202-331-4609.  If you would like to be kept informed about the progression of this project, please contact Michelle Jester.

Capitol Hill Hearing to Focus on Breaking Down Barriers to Volunteerism at Health Centers

The Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee today convenes a legislative hearing on bipartisan legislation introduced by Representatives Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Gene Green (D-TX) to break down the barriers to health professional volunteerism at Community Health Centers (CHCs).  The Family Health Care Accessibility Act of 2013 (H.R. 2703) provides a legislative solution to a longstanding problem that health centers confront in attracting volunteer health care providers.  Testifying in support of the legislation will be Robert MtJoy, CEO of Cornerstone Care in Southwest, PA [link to testimony].

The legislation, which draws wide support from the national network of Community Health Centers, amends the Public Health Service Act to extend Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) medical malpractice coverage to all qualified health care professionals who volunteer at health centers. Health center employees, contractors, and board members receive medical malpractice coverage through FTCA, but doctors, dentists, and other health care professionals who wish to volunteer their services at health centers are required to provide their own medical malpractice coverage, which is extremely costly.

The Family Health Care Accessibility Act (H.R. 2703) could be paid for with funds available through the health centers’ annual appropriations.  Without these protections, medical malpractice insurance for physician-volunteers at CHCs could cost as much as $100,000, reducing the number of professional healthcare volunteers at a time when health centers are expanding services and access to meet the growing needs of their communities.  In the 111th Congress, the legislation overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 417-1.